Faith

Ron sat on the church stoop, still in his Healer robes. Harry came out and hit him over the head.

"That's an awfully nice thing to do to a man that's getting married." Ron said, resisting the urge to slap Harry back.

"Why aren't you dressed, Ron? You're getting married in an hour."

"I'm very well aware of that." Ron said.

"It's hard to believe, isn't it?" Harry sat down beside him. "One minute you two are bickering like there's no tomorrow, and the next, you're getting married."

"We didn't bicker that much."

"Yes, you did, Ron."

"Did not."

"Did too."

"Did not."

"Did too."

"Did not."

"Did too."

"When?" Ron challenged.

"Well, for one, it was your fault she almost got killed by a Mountain Troll, and then it was also your fault that she had an awful at that Yule Ball in fourth year and then it was also your fault for--"

"Okay, okay." Ron said. "I got it."

"Glad to be of service, Ron. But, you know, she's a wonderful girl."

"Have you seen her yet?" Ron asked.

"No."

"Damn, I want to see her in that wedding dress." Ron sighed and ran his hands through his hair.

"I know you do, Ron."

"Harry, could you do one more thing for your single friend one last time?"

"As long as you don't want money..."

"No, no. Could you take a look for me? Tell her that she looks beautiful."

"But how do you know she looks beautiful?"

"Because, she's always beautiful, you know."

"Okay. But, you have to promise to get dressed. Ron, I'm going to kill you if you're not."

"Fine, fine." Ron said standing up.

~-~-~-

"Hermione, how could you fall in love with Ron? He's so, stupid!" Ginny laughed.

"I dunno." Hermione said dreamily.

There was a knock at the door. "Ron, go away, you can't see Hermione!"

"Erm, Ginny, it's me!" Harry said awkwardly. "Is it okay if I come in? There aren't any naked girls in there, are there?"

"Oh, you wish, Harry!" Ginny said, opening the door. "Git." She said, hitting him on the head with her flowers.

"Hermione..." Harry breathed. She didn't look like the sickly girl in the hospital bed, anymore. She didn't look like the bushy haired, bossy, know-it-all that he knew at Hogwarts. She looked, like a teenager, in love. She looked like someone who was confident.

"Harry..." Hermione hugged him.

"Hermione..." He breathed again. "Wow. You're, absolutely stunning."

Hermione blushed. He kissed her on the forehead.

"When Ron sees you, he's going to faint." Harry said, smiling. "The poor git."

"Yes, poor Ron." Hermione smiled. "Poor, poor, Ron."

~-~-~-

"So how's she look, Harry?" Ron asked.

"Beautiful." Harry smiled.

"Good."

"You were expecting different?"

"No, no. I just needed a second opinion."

"Why?"

"Because I'm a nervous wreck, that's why."

"Ron, shush." Harry hissed. "You really shouldn't be talking to your best man while you're up here, you know."

"Damn the bloody rules."

"You shouldn't be cursing on your wedding day either."

"Harry, what are you? The priest?"

"Just a concerned friend."

"Harry--Harry is that her?" Ron's mouth must've fallen all the way to his chest.

"I don't konw, Ron. How many other brides are in your wedding that Hermione doesn't know about?"

"It's her, Harry!"

"Of course it is."

"She's--she's--"

"Beautiful?"

"No, no, more then beautiful. Much more then beautiful. No word could describe--Are you sure tha'ts her?"

"Ron, how many other girls did you propose to?"

"I don't recall, Harry. I don't remember anything anymore. My head's all funny."

"Ron, you have to be quiet now."

"But--"

"Shut up!"

"Okay, okay. Wish me luck Harry?"

"I wish you luck."

~-~-~-~-~-

Ron stood, looking deep into Hermione's eyes, not knowing what to do next. The entire congregation was silent, looking at Ron looking at Hermione stupidly.

"You may now kiss the bride." The priest repeated.

"Wha-what?" He asked, dazed.

Harry laughed. He was so confused.

"Kiss me, Ron." Hermione whispered.

"Oh, right." Ron said, a bit embarrassed. He leaned and kissed her on the forehead.

"You prat." She said. She jumped up and mashed her lips against his, causing an eruption of laughter and applause.

They stood there, a minute, not knowing what to do. It was as if all of their senses had gone numb.

"Well," Ron said. "I guess I'm stuck with you now."

"You bet you are, Ronald Weasley."

~-~-~-~-

Ron sat in his and Harry's apartment. Hermione was supposed to be arriving from St. Mungo's with an Auror, namely Harry. They had to be escorted because people with The Curse tended to attract Death Eaters.

He heard the door open and saw Harry, standing there, with Hermione clinging to his arm, smiling.

"Are you sure you want to live here, Hermione? Ron's a bit of a pig, you know."

"I'm a pig?" Ron laughed. "Do you have any idea what Harry does in his spare time?"

"Oh, shut up, Ron!" Harry said.

~-~-~-

"Where's Hermione?" Asked Harry when Ron took a seat across from him at the kitchen table.

"She's asleep. Awfully tired, she is."

"Right. Er--Ron?"

"What?"

"What are you going to do now, that Hermione's out of St. Mungo's?"

"Well, I thought I'd stay a Healer. Maybe for little kids or something."

"Oh, right."

"Harry, are you in love with my sister?"

"Wha-what?" Harry turned a dark red.

"Ha! I knew it!"

"Ron--I, well--she!"

"Oh, suck it up, Harry. I have no idea what you see in my little sister, but I'd rather she be in love with you then a complete stranger."

"Erm..."

"Right. Well, when does your vacations start?"

"When?" Harry asked. "Oh, tomorrow. But, are you sure that you should be going back to work right after your wedding?"

"Oh, Hermione won't mind."

"You sure?" Harry asked.

"Yes. She's a pretty tolerant girl."

~-~-~-~-

Ron shoved on his Healer robes just as Hermione walked slowly out of their bedroom, rubbing her eyes and yawning. Ron smiled at her as he looked for his bag.

"Where the bloody hell is it?"

Hermione walked back into her room and brought out a brown bag with the initials R.W. on it.

"Oh, right." Ron said, taking it.

"Ron, are you going back to work?"

"So sorry, Love. But duty calls." He kissed her on the cheek. He opened the door and stopped, looking back at Harry. "Harry Potter."

"Yes, Mister Weasley?"

"You take care of my wife while I'm gone."

"Right."

"Harry!" Ron said, closing the door and stiffling back a laugh. "WHat are you still doing in your pyjamas?"

"It's my day off. I'm going to loaf around all day and watch television."

"So, that's what Auror's do when they have vacation time?"

"No, only the famous Harry Potter." Harry said, laughing.

"Right. Goodbye, 'Mione, Mister Potter."

And with that he closed the door.

~-~-~-~-~-

Harry's vacation lasted for two weeks. He kept his word, he really did loaf around and watch television all day. Hermione usually watched with him, looking curiously at the television. She wouldn't talk to him as much as she talked to Ron, but she talked to him, sometimes.

"I have to go back to work tomorrow." Harry sighed. "You won't see me for a couple of months." He said absently during a commercial break.

"Oh." Was all Hermione said. "Harry..."

"What?" He looked at Hermione and noticed that her lips were a sickly shade of blue. "Hermione, are you cold?"

"Yes." She said. "Very cold, Harry."

"Okay, you just stay right there." Harry ran out of the room in search of blankets. "How can she be cold?" He murmured to himself. "It's the middle of July."

He finally found a two winter blanekts Ron had thrown in his closet. He draped them over Hermione, who kept shivering. Harry felt her forehead and pulled his hand away quickly. How could a human being be that hot?

"Hermione, what's wrong? Hermione, what's wrong with you?" He asked.

"Harry..." Her teeth were chattering furiously. She started to murmur something.

"What? Hermione!"

"Harry, what happened to Cedric Diggory? You carried his body out of the maze. Harry, goodbye. I'll see you, come September."

"What?" Harry breathed. She wasn't supposed to remember this. She wasn't! What was going on?

"We have O.W.L's this year..." She was muttering.

"Do you want me to call Ron? Hermione!"

"Ron, you're so impatient. Don't call him Vicky. I can have a pen pal can't I?"

She was getting close to Voldemort. Harry ran into the kitchen and picked up the phone. He called St. Mungo's.

"Hello, St. Mungo's. How may I help you?" A bored witch answered.

"I need to talk to Weasley."

"Which one, Nurse Ginny or the Healer."

"The Healer, hurry!"

"He's in a session." She said. "He said not to be disturbed."

"No, this is an emergency."

"Sir when a Healer is in a session--"

"It's about his wife, God damn it!"

"His wife? Well, why didn't you say so, sir?"

There was a click and then hold music started to play.

"Damn it..." Harry muttered. He kept the phone to hs ear and went back to Hermione who was still chattering away.

"Harry, whats wrong? Harry, you have to tell us what's wrong. Is it Voldemort, Harry? Where is Sirius?"

"Hermione, shut up. Stop talking, you're scaring me! You're not supposed to remember this stuff!"

"Harry, it's so cold. Why is it so cold?" She yelled at him.

"Harry?" Ron's voice was at the other end.

"Ron, it's Hermione, she's--" Harry stopped.

"What? What's wrong with her?" Ron demanded.

"She's repeating things that she shouldn't remember."

"What?"

"She's saying things from Fourth and Fifth Year and she's getting close to where she was cursed. Ron, she's shivering, and the air condiitoning isn't even on. I've put her under all these blankets but she won't stop shivering!"

Ron was silent for a minute. "Harry, get her down here. Now."

"Ron, how am I supposed to--"

"I don't know. Ugh, just get her down here."

The phone went dead.

~-~-~-

Ron hung up on Harry and started to pace back and forth the room. Shivering, high fever, and sudden memory recovery: those were the signs that people under The Curse were having a brain disorder. It was usually how most of the people---died.

"No, she's not going to die. Damn it, Harry, where are you?" Ron ran down to the lobby to wait by the fireplace.

"What are you waiting for, Mister Weasley?" The bored witch asked.

"Mind your business, Irma."

"Yes, sir." The bored witch yawned and wrote something down.

~-~-~-~

"Hermione, we have go to see Ron. You're going to be okay."

"Harry, you need to learn Occlumency..." She muttered.

She was getting dangerously close. "Hermione, come on." Harry threw on the first shirt and pants he could get his hands on. He tucked in the shirt in a hurry and picked up Hermione. He stepped into their fireplace and yelled.

"St. Mungo's, lobby."

~-~-~-

There was a green flame in the fireplace and Hermione and Harry flew out, hacking and coughing. Ron picked Hermione up and dusted off her face. She shivered, her blue lips shaking.

"Hermione? Hermione!" Ron yelled.

"Go to the Ministry? It's absurd. What if Sirius isn't there?" She muttered.

"No, Hermione. Stop! Stop talking right now!"

"You do have a sort of saving-peope thing. Oh, Harry, don't blame me. Harry, don't storm off..." She muttered.

"Ron, what's going on? What's wrong with her?"

"She's, having a thing..."

"A thing? Damn it, Ron! Didn't you go to Medical School?"

"It's a thing, when people under The Curse have an outrageous fever and sudden recover their memory, their brain kind of shuts down. And when their brain shuts down..."

"Ron, no." Harry said. "She's going to be fine."

"You're right." Ron said, unsurely.

"I want to go with you, Harry. I want to help Sirius..." She murmured as Ron picked her up.

~-~-~-~-

Hermione's old Healer stood in the room, his hair now a pure white color. Harry wondered why he wans't retired yet. He sighed and turned to Ron.

"It's hopeless." He said, starting towards the door.

Ron shot up from his seat, and got in front of the Healer, blocking his way towards the door.

"What do you mean it's hopeless?! She's going to be alright!"

"I've witnessed many deaths under The Curse." The Healer said calmly. "She is headed down that path."

"You stupid old--"

"How long does she have?" Harry interrupted him.

"I dunno. Anywhere from one hour to forty-eight hours."

"She's too young! She can't die, she's too young!" Ron argued.

"You are her husband?"

"Yes, but--"

"Then you have yourself to blame."

"What?" Ron asked. "What are you saying?"

"A miserable person with nothing that is under The Curse lives a long, yet miserable life. But, a person who can find happiness, even though they are suffering, they will die early."

"But, why?"

"That is the whole purpose of The Curse. The purpose is to destroy the lives of its victims, in any way it can." The doctor shook his head and left the room, leaving Ron there.

Ron sat at Hermione's bedside, just staring at her, as she muttered things to the ceiling.

"I did this, Harry. It's my fault. If I'd just--"

"Ron, stop." Harry said. "If you knew she would die early if you kept visitng her, would you've stopped?"

"I--" Ron thought for a minute. "No, I wouldn't."

"See? It makes no difference. Ron, even if she dies now, she's lived a happy life."

"How can you say that, Harry? How can you talk about her dying like a positive thing?" Ron asked, he gripped Hermione's hand tightly.

"Harry! Ron!" Ginny called, as she walked into the room, still in her Nurse outfit. "I heard about--Hermione. Is she going to be okay?"

"Of course she is." Ron scowled.

"Ginny." Harry said, standing up and walking over to her. "Ron's in a bit of denial. The Healer said that Hermione could live anywhere from one hour to two days."

"She could die any minute?" Ginny gasped.

"In so many words, yes."

"Ron...." Ginny walked past Harry towards Ron. "Ron, do you want me to call mum?"

"She's not going to die." Ron said, turning away from Ginny.

"I think that's a yes." Ginny said, walking out of the room.

Harry sat down next to Ron. "Ron, I know that you don't want her to die, but, you have to be prepared for the worst. I mean, if Hermione was talking, what would she say now?"

"She'd say, 'Shut up', Harry."

"Ron..."

Harry sat there, looking at Hermione, her eyes staring at nothing and her mouth murmuring memories. He was tempted to clap his hand over her mouth and yell "Shut up! Shut up!" But, he didn't. This was Hermione. He suddenly thought of all the newspaper articles he had been in. He thought of all the sacrifices she had made for him and felt the tears come to his eyes.

"Hermione..." Harry said, touching her arm. She didn't respond. "You know, I--I get this feeling that I took you for granted, you and Ron. I mean, all of those newspaper articles, you were never in them. And when Voldemort was inside my mind, you, never ran away. You never turned your back on me. I mean, you didn't want any credit when it came to the Chamber of Secrets and rescuing Sirius. Hermione, I want you to know, I'm sorry. I'm sorry if I ever back-talked you or ignored you. I'm sorry."

"But we can't see those black things, Harry..." Hermione muttered.

Ron was looking at Harry. "You really meant that?"

"Yes. And I guess, same goes to you, too." He said.

"Harry, you know, you're a really lousy super-hero." Ron said, smiling. "But, you're less lousy as a friend."

"Thanks, Ron." They embraced each other.

"God damn it, you gits just can't get off it, can you?" Ginny asked coming in the room. "I thought you'd got over being gay, Ron, since you married Hermione. And Harry, I'm surprised at you!"

"Damn it, Ginny." Harry said, pulling away from Ron. "You just love coming in at the the exact wrong time."

"Of course I do, Harry. After all, I learned from the best." She smiled proudly at Ron.

"Oh dear, oh dear." Mrs. Weasley said, walking into the room. "Oh dear. What happened?"

"She just started to shiver." Harry explained.

~-~-~-~-

Twenty-four hours. Harry thought, shaking his head. They had been in this room for twenty-four hours. Hermione had stopped muttering, and was now talking to Harry and Ron like they were all in first year. Her memory was back, and no one was sure whether it meant she was going to be alright or she was going to die.

Hermione giggled. "And then you were burping up slugs for the rest of the day."

Ron laughed. "I can still take those slugs, little missy."

She was so full of energy, how can she be dying?

"Oh, oh, remember when Neville tripped and fell on his face?" She laughed.

"He wouldn't get out of bed for a week." Ron laughed.

She would babble on for hours, but Ron and Harry just sat back and listened, knowing each word could be the last. It was as if they were in school again, but there was no homework, no Voldemort, no nothing. They lived in an artificial word of perfect happiness for those two days.

"You know, Ron fancied you since fourth year." Harry said.

"He did not!" Hermione laughed.

"Of course he did!" Harry said. "You'd be surprised how he managed to include you in every conversation we ever had."

"Harry!" Ron said, punching him on the arm.

"Did you really, Ron?" She laughed. "Is that the reason you were so jealous when I went with Viktor the Yule Ball."

"That stupid git had his hands all over you!"

"He did not!"

"He did too! Hermione Weasley, you were there."

"Of course I was there."

Hermione was quiet for a while. She didn't say anything, as if she was recollecting her memories.

"And no one believed Harry."

"About what?"

"About, Voldemort. When he came back." She said quietly.

"Hermione, maybe we shouldn't--"

She laughed a little. "And I said he had a 'saving-people-thing'. I was kind of stupid, wasn't I?"

Ron didn't answer. "Hermione, could you stop talking now? Please?"

"I can't Ron! I just have all these things I remember! I need to talk!"

Harry spoke up for Ron when he went mute. "Go on, Hermione."

"Harry, I think I should tell you. I'm sorry."

Harry looked at Hermione in surprise. "What are you sorry for? You didn't--"

"I mistook your 'saving-people-thing' for kindness. I mean, every human being would have rushed to save their godfather. You did it because your a good person, Harry."

"I--" She was getting so close. "Thank you, Hermione." He smiled at her.

Ron found his voice. "Maybe, maybe you should rest now."

She seemed to think this over a little. "I am a little tired." She said matter-of-factly. "But not a lot."

"'Mione..."

"It was a rush of adrenaline, wasn't it? Fighting Voldemort and all." She smiled. "I remember, I was so scared, I kept clinging to Harry's arm."

Hermione's eyes were wandering, as if she was scoping for her memories.

"And then, Harry did this wonderful, brilliant spell. And then, I was going to congratulate him and then..." She paused and looked at Ron. "And then I saw a pinkish-purple light thing. And then I remember wondering, 'Where is Ron?' "

They were all silent for long minutes. Finally, Hermione spoke up again.

"And then--" Hermione stopped dead and started to laugh like there was no tomorrow.

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

"Oh, it's nothing." She said, wiping a tear from her eye and letting loose another set of giggles. "I remember you and Harry, you were--"

"What were we doing?" Harry asked, feeling in the mood to laugh himself.

"You were dancing together!" She shrieked and immediatly started to laugh again.

"We were not!"

"Yes you were! And then Ginny came in and caught you two on film!" She laughed.

Harry let a small laugh escape.

"Hermione." Ron asked distantly. "That photograph, where did you put it?"

"What photograph?" She asked blankly. "Oh, this one." She reached into her sleeve and pulled it out.

The three torsos continued to wave, just as they did so many years ago.

"I always take it with me." She said, smiling.

Harry looked at the picture and smiled himself, and he saw Ron grinnig happily next to him.

"Look at that red-headed one." Hermione said, the corners of her mouth twitching. "He's got such a dopey smile."

"I beg your pardon, Mrs. Weasley!" Ron exclaimed, laughing.

"But, it's adorable, don't you think, Harry?"

"Not, adorable, I wouldn't call it adorable at all."

Hermione laughed.

~-~-~-~-

Harry lay slouched in the chair, drifting between being awake and asleep. He could hear Hermione and Ron talking and laughing quietly and Mrs. Weasley occasionally laughing at her two children.

"Ron..." Hermione asked. She sounded tired. "What do you think about children?"

"Children?!" Ron's voice squeaked unnaturally. "But Hermione, we haven't, I mean, we've never even--erm--"

"I know." She giggled softly. "But children, they are so beautiful, aren't they?"

"Well, I suppose..." Ron said awkwardly.

Hermione sighed. "I'd like a child someday." She said distantly.

She doesn't know she's going to die. Ron thought. She doesn't know she's dying.

"Someday, love." Ron said.

"You know." Hermione sighed. "Tomorrow seems like a long way away. It feels like I'll never get there for some reason. Stupid, right?" She asked him, closing her eyes.

"Your tired." Ron said. "Go to sleep now."

"Sleep." She said distantly. "Ron..."

"Yes?"

"Did you know, that I love you?"

"Yes, I did, 'Mione."

"Are you sure?"

"I'm positive."

"Really really sure?"

"I'm so sure that you love me that I think I love you too."

Ron leaned forward to kiss her on the lips on last time.

"That's good." She said.

"Hermione..."

"Ron, I have to thank you."

"For what?"

"For everything, I suppose."

"Everything?"

"Hmm..."

She sighed deeply and smiled. Ron slowly felt her hand stop clinging to his, until he was holding a lifeless hand. He brought it to his lips and let the tears pour.

Mrs. Weasley put her hand on his shoulder, as an attempt at comfort.

"Good night, 'Mione."

"Ron..." She whispered, she sounded so tired.

"Yes?"

"I'm not crazy. And I never lost faith that I wasn't."

"I know." Ron patted her hand. "Now go to sleep."

Hermione squeezed his hand one last time.

She fell asleep.

FIN.