AN: So... This is the.. long overdue update. It's... a fairly large jump. But.. I will try to... fix that in future chapters. This.. Ends what I had written out already, though. So... future updates may not happen at all, though I will try.
I could feel my heart breaking. My poor Ginny! I hated to see her like this! .. Her mother and her pressures... Poor Ginny!
And everyone was watching! Ginny was literally having a breakdown and Daphne and two of their friends were watching. Like it was a bloody freakshow!
Though, I suppose it wasn't really fair to judge. I didn't know what to say any more then they did. No one seemed to.
Except McGonagall, who lept into action as Ginny collapsed into a crying heap on the floor.
McGonagall puled herself to the floor in front of Ginny, "You're not a failure," she told her sternly, repeating herself as Ginny started sobbing and telling us all what her wretched mother had spouted in anger.
I got up and sat behind Ginny, rubber her back in what I hoped were soothing circles, all the while chiming in with how amazing and talented Ginny was.
McGonagall sighed, looking around, "Out."
I began to stand as the others filtered out... I didn't really want to leave. I mean, Ginny! My poor, poor Ginny—though, I guess she wasn't really mine... And I was dating Daphne.. I wanted to make her feel better, though. But... McGonagall wanted privacy. And whatever she was going to say would be more comforting than my circles. McGonagall knew what she was doing. I had to trust that. She always did. She... Everything would be okay. She would make everything okay.
"You can stay," McGonagall peered up at me. I plopped myself back down and continued rubbing soothing circles. She sighed, looking uncharacteristically nervous. "If either one of you repeat this," she began, watching the last person shut it and leave the three of us alone, "I'll kill you."
I had to laugh a little at that, not knowing what could possibly be next. What? She was going to admit that she was actually fond of us? … We sorta knew that. It was pretty common knowledge that she wasn't as hard-hearted as she pretended to be.
"I found out I have skin cancer," she admitted, not really looking at either of us.
My hand dropped from Ginny's back and my breath caught in my throat, my eyes going wide. I-I wanted to keep trying to soothe Ginny but...
My mind buzzed with a thousand questions and thoughts—none of them good—but it kept settling on that one word: Cancer.
I knew people who had died from cancer. Had gotten diagnosed. And died.
And she had cancer.
It had to be the single most terrible thing—worst word—in all of creation. Worse than He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Worse then...
I blinked, forcing myself to focus as I heard McGonagall's voice.
"That's why I've been so much nicer," she continued. "If I'm not here in a year or six months or tomorrow, how do I want to be remembered?"
I could hear Ginny crying again but all I could do was focus on what McGonagall had just said... McGonagall, my first love... My-my only real love. I-
I could feel tears forming, prickling behind my eyes, but we couldn't the all of us—because McGonagall had started crying now, too—be crying so I blinked them away.
A year? Six months? Tomorrow?
I couldn't focus. I didn't even know if I was breathing anymore.
I saw of the, begin to get up so I followed suit, watching McGonagall open her office door—by that time, the others that had been loitering were gone, which was fine with me cause I didn't expressly want to talk to Daphne right then anyway. Ginny thanked Professor McGonagall—thanked her—and left.
I couldn't... Focus. Couldn't breathe. I forced a quick goodbye, explaining that I had to go to Harry and Ron's quidditch practice, before stumbling out of her office. I walked through the school, her words ringing in my head.
"If I'm not here in a year or six months or tomorrow..."
That's not possible. She can't leave. She can't die. She-she just couldn't.
I felt tears rolling down my cheeks as I sat in the stands, not entirely watching the practice as I said I would. But it hardly mattered. I wiped hastily at the tears, still unable to figure it out.
Why her? All she does is help her students. She's... Kind, loving, warm, caring...
Why not Snape? Or... Bellatrix. Or.. Malfoy.
Why McGonagall? And why cancer?
I mean, yes,s he had said something about her type being the kind that was most often survived. But still. What if she didn't make it? What if she didn't survive?
It's not fair! I thought angrily, slamming my books on the bleachers beside me. This isn't supposed to happen! Not to her!
I grabbed my things and waved an absent goodbye to the boys, unable to just sit there any longer. I ran through the castle and to the common room. I went directly to my four-poster, burying my face in my pillow and letting out the tears that were sporadically escaping anyway.
"Not to her!" I repeated bitterly, crying into my pillow as her words continued echoing in my mind.
"If I'm not here in a year or six months or tomorrow..."
I cried myself into a fitful sleep, worried and distraught.
Unsurprisingly, I awoke earlier than usual the next morning, not having gotten much sleep anyway.
Yawning, I scratched at my forehead and felt... A zit. I sighed, hating being a teenager and the acne it brought with it. (Cause life wasn't hard enough being gay and growing up with a dark lord that was constantly trying to get power.)
I shook my head bitterly, rolling out of bed and grabbing my toothbrush from my bedside table before catching sight of myself in the mirror.
"Bloody hell," my eyes went wide.
The "zit" I'd found had brought friends. A lot of them. And they were all itchy.
"What the-" I scratched at the large, red bump I had found to begin with. I ran a comb through my hair, letting it bush out so that it hid my face almost entirely—one of the rare times I was grateful for my unruly mane—before brushing my teeth and throwing my uniform on.
I rushed to McGonagall's office, the early hour meaning I met very few people on the way.
"Good morning, Hermione. How are you?" she smiled cheerfully, her mood drastically different from the day before.
I flipped my hair back as my answer, not quite able to repress a flinch as her wide eyes competed her look of shock and concern.
It was the "Oh my!" face.
Great. What a lovely sign.
"What happened?" she asked bluntly. .. Like it was a hex I hadn't realized I was hit with.
"I woke up with them. I don't know what it is. They're itchy though. Peeves said they might be-"
"Hives," she interrupted, finishing for me. "Are you allergic to anything?"
"No! And this is the first time I've ever gotten them," I answered, my eyes pleading. She had to be able to fix this. She had to have answers... She.. Knew things.
"Did you use anything different? Shampoo? Soap?"
I shook my head that I hadn't.
"I think you need to o to the hospital wing."
"No! I-I can't! I can't miss classes today!" Truth was, I didn't want to be alone with my thoughts. I wanted any distraction. Anything to keep my mind off the day before.
She shook her head, rolling her eyes.
The usual crew entered, person after person gasping at my hives and then telling me what was wrong—all of this making me feel like a freak. Everyone thought they had the answer. Like they were all geniuses. Soap, shampoo, facial cleanser...
"Stop scratching!" McGonagall barked, again. All morning. Over and over. Either "stop scratching" or "go see Madam Pomfrey."
"I'm not scratching!" I lied lamely, finally sitting on my hands to keep from scratching. "I'm fine!" My face itched terribly and she had told me that hives could stay for up to six weeks and that hot water sometimes made them flair up again. Great.
By the time I got to my first class, I was dying for relief and decided to listen to McGonagall. I'd just go to Madam Pomfrey and get medication to stop the itching.
Things are never that easy, though. No. I couldn't just have medication and be on my way. Madam Pomfrey banned me from classes for the rest of the day, sending me to my dormitory to take medication and rest.
So, instead of having the lovely distraction of classes, I was sentenced to spend the day in my four-poster, alone; recounting the events of the previous afternoon as I drifted in and out of consciousness.
"Missing classes," I huffed angrily, trying to get McGonagall's voice out of my head as it repeated itself over and over.
"If I'm not here in a year or six months or tomorrow."