Title: Goodbye Challenge -
Disclaimer: I own nothing, but I own my demented mind that decided to do this to my two favourite characters.
AN: This is short and quick moving but given that I kept erupting into tears while writing it and given the story there was no other way to do it. I know it feels rushed but please understand that I needed it to be like that.
Author's Note 2: I have no idea where the hell this came from but I like it. How's this I thought I'd post the other sequel to QS when next I posted a story and instead my brain came up with this, I hope you enjoy.
Challenge -there is a reference to Buffy in this, can you find it????
Ron woke to the terrified screaming of his best friend and felt his chest constrict with the knowledge that he could not help her. Regardless he threw off his covers and walked towards Hermione's room hoping that maybe, just maybe, tonight's nightmare wasn't the same as every night since Graduation. He opened the door and found Hermione curled up in the middle of her bed, wand clutched tight in her white knuckled fist.
Hermione didn't move the wand as Ron moved towards her bed, she never did, kept it trained at his heart and he knew that on her lips was the first syllables of the unforgivable curse. She never woke normally anymore, some nights worse than others - some nights she didn't scream but even if she didn't this was how he found her; terrified and deadly. Even though she knew it was him she kept her wand trained at his heart and didn't flinch as he sat in the overstuffed chair by the bed; she'd come to him only when she was ready. He remembered too vividly the hexes she had thrown at him in the beginning when he tried to calm her when she awoke. She woke from her nightmares feral and deadly but she never acted unless provoked. Ron shifted to get comfortable and met her eyes, hiding the shiver that ran down his spine as he again noticed the difference between the tortured black pools he looked into and the soft, brown eyes that had inhabited his childhood.
Ron had nightmares too, but his had become less frequent as the years had passed, he had come to accept the loss of his other best friend, he accepted that his loss was not as great as the act which led to Harry's demise. He died that night, in front of Ron and Hermione, with only one purpose - to take Voldemort with him. He had succeeded; the wizarding world was safe … for now. The world mourned the loss of 'the boy who lived' but then they stopped and moved onto rebuilding the world. A few people could not go on, Hermione the worst. Ron had survived that first year simply to ensure Hermione wasn't put in St Mungo's but she had never come out of mourning, Ron couldn't get to her now - she was lost inside herself, lost somewhere where Harry was alive and had not died screaming, contorting before their eyes.
Ron felt tears begin to sting his eyes but he didn't know how to help her, there was no help for her, she had spent too long lost and there was no way to bring her back. Everyday she spent curled up on her bed, her wand laying limply at her side until she slept and a nightmare woke her sending her into instant alert, and instant terror. There was nothing Ron could do for her and he hated himself for not being able to save her, he could not save Harry and he could not save her.
Hermione blinked and Ron sat bolt upright, she never blinked - not anymore. For just a moment his saw the fleeting shadow of brown in the depths of her eyes before she laid back down on the bed and slept. Ron rushed to the bed, not caring for hexes or curses only aware that he would never see her eyes again, never see her alive again. Ron checked, but he was right - Hermione had slipped from this world and he had lost her.
Ron felt the tears course down his checks, hated the hollow pit in this stomach and the lessening of the vice around his chest. He felt peace finally and he hated himself for not being sad that she was gone. Ron felt the cold floor through the thin material of his pyjamas and his body began to convulse with sobs, he was not sad, he was relieved, she was gone and he was finally free and he had lost both of them. No matter what occurred in his life from this night there would be a hollow place inside of him that they had filled in their life.
As the sun peaked through the windows of Hermione's room Ron finally stood and walked to the fireplace. He called his mother and passed on the news, asking her to inform those who needed to know. Ron called the Ministry officials that needed to be informed of her death and asked that the paper work be rushed so that she could be buried soon. The officials arrived quickly, his name and hers still holding weight in this world, the death certificate was written quickly and signed on the spot. Cause of death - natural. The body was released immediately and Ron had it apparated to a Wizard funeral home. For once Ron was distantly grateful that Hermione's parents had not had to witness her last ten years. And that he could carry out her funeral as he so wished, and knew that she would have wanted if she had have ever planned it.
A lot of money and throwing around his name and hers landed him a burial for the next day, her death was not last night for no reason but since she did not have a clock he couldn't be sure. He organised everything with a decisiveness that left the staff confused, for even now the tears threatened his eyes. He left the funeral home and apparated directly to the Burrow, and the waiting hug from his mother. Ron felt the tears break through again but held himself together and informed her of the plans already in motion, like him she understood the significance of Hermione's death like few others would.
Ron stood watching as the dark wood coffin was slowly lowered into the ground. A single pick lily in his hand, Hermione's favourite wizard flower. Ginny stood beside him, a pale, pink rose in her hand, Hermione's favourite muggle flower. As the coffin bumped gently against the solid earth at the base of the grave they threw the flowers in, they landed with a barely audible thump and Ron knelt to pray for Hermione and her trip into the next life. Before his stood he lifted his hands and threw the dirt caught in his fists down onto her coffin. He had accompanied Hermione to her parent's funeral and knew that she would want some rituals kept. The muggle minister completed his prayers for her body and Ron stood, walking away from Hermione's coffin and allowing the last of his tears to fall.
Following him, Ginny - supported lightly by Draco - dropped earth on her earthly body and moved to stand next to Ron, Draco accompanied his wife after paying his respects to Hermione. Neville and Luna followed close behind, no matter where their lives had taken them they remained Dumbledore's Army - Harry's Army.
Ron watched as the rest of the congregation paid their respects and stood straight and expressionless as the congregation left, to return to the Burrow for the wake. He stood as the grave was filled in, as the charms were cast to protect it and finally as the gravestone was placed to mark her final resting place.
Ron read the inscription again and felt himself lose the last shreds of his soul that Hermione had held since he had first seen her. Ron remembered everything that had ever happened between the three of them before he locked them up inside his memory and his heart, stowing them away for safe keeping and so he could not loss one shred of their vibrancy. Ron knelt at her gravestone and kissed the cold stone,
Standing again he whispered her epitaph to himself and he made his tears stop.
'Hermione Anne Granger'
'She saved the world, and loved more than this life could contain'
'Beloved friend, daughter and brain'
'September 19 1980 to June 15 2007'
'Hermione Anne Granger'
Ron didn't need to look to read the inscription of the tombstone next to hers:
'Harry James Potter'
'He lived and he died for his friends and family'
'Beloved friend, son and strength'
'July 31 1980 to June 15 1997'
Ron finally left the graveyard and his two best friends, making his way home and to the beginning of his life without them.
That night, Ron slept, he slept more peacefully than he had slept for ten years. There were no screams to wake him that night, no tortured eyes to stare into, no helplessness. Ron hated himself a little for being happy that Hermione had finally passed on, finally obtained some peace; if there was any justice in the world at all she would meet Harry again, and maybe find some peace in that life that she had not been able to in this one.
Twin lights danced above his bed, expanding, growing. Faint outlines could be seen and anyone who read history would recognise them, even though they could not be identified.
"Ron, I'm sorry - I wasn't ready to go. I wasn't prepared to let you lose two friends. Now maybe you'll live. I love you Ron. I'm happy. Goodbye." A voice more like the wind floated through the room, surrounding the sleeping man.
"I'll look after her now, I will see you one day." A second voice, deeper, joined the echoes of the first.
Both figures shrunk, disappearing into two twin spots of light that hovered above his bed watching over him until they were called on. In his sleep Ron turned, and for once, in a long time, he smiled.
Ginny stood before her brother's grave and ran a finger over his inscription,
'Ronald Bilius Weasley'
'He saved the world, and lost more than he should have'
'Beloved friend, son, father, husband and heart'
'March 1 1980 to June 15 2067'
"Goodbye Ron, I hope you see them again." Ginny rose and left the cemetery and the three graves that held the most powerful friendship the world had ever seen.