Chapter Twenty – The Last Step

Hermione was dying. Plan and simple. George saw the doctors rush in. He heard them speak the words, "She's dying, sir." He saw her pale, ghostly looking body. She was dying while he was holding her hand, she was dying when the doctor was telling him that he had lost his mother to cancer. Hermione dying could not have been written out any clearer; it was spelled in capital letters in boldface. She was basically dead already, wasn't she? He could see on the doctor's faces that she was not going to survive. This was life. Life was cruel and unfair, and that was it. Things weren't about to get any better. If anything, things would only get worse. That was what happened when a person was sick. Nothing ever improved.

The one thing Hermione had asked for was hope, and there was not even any left. He had given up on her, and she was unconscious. How could a person who was dying have any hope at all? They were so weak that they probably did not remember what life was like. And how could anyone know if the Weasley's were still rooting for her? They didn't know what was happening right now. They were probably sitting at home, expecting George and Hermione's return within the next week, not even thinking about death. Cancer was a long disease, and it had been a few weeks already. Death was inches away, and in sight.

George knew that he had to do something for her. He would have to get back into that room and see her one last time before she left him. He would do something for her. He would tell her that he had hope—how could an unconscious person tell if someone was lying or not? Maybe he would wait a few minutes longer until he barged into the room, demanding the doctors to allow him a few minutes. Or he could wait until the doctors came out and got him. But how long would that take? And what would they be coming out to say? That Hermione did not make it? That Hermione was dead? He would not allow that to happen.

It hit him so suddenly, and he smiled to himself. Although he knew that this was not the time to be smiling, he was so excited that he had thought of an idea. He walked out of the hospital and down the streets of Wales. If he apparated now, surely a muggle would see, and he would be revealed. He would not risk that. He would apparate home in a moment, once he got to his hotel room. His idea was so brilliant, granted this worked with muggles. It would most likely work on them—if it did not, George would give up all hope that had just come back to him. Or if it showed what he did not want to see, he would cry.

He walked briskly to his hotel room, sliding the key into the keyhole as soon as he got there. He had held the key ready so he would not waste any time rummaging through his pant pockets trying to find it. His heart was pounding through his chest, for he had nearly sprinted to the hotel. He opened the door and fell through the archway into the room. He darted for the trashcan and almost choked when he found that the ring that he had thrown into the bucket was not there. He dumped the bucket upside down, allowing the plastic covering to fall to the ground slowly. Silence followed, and he knew that the ring was gone.

It was not until he looked on the counter next to the trash bucket that he noticed something gleam out of the corner of his eyes. His frown quickly turned into a bright smile, and his watery eyes quickly became dry. On the counter was the diamond ring with a note beneath it. He picked it up and stuck it into his pocket, patting it down gently. He glanced down at the note and read the messy handwriting with great difficulty: "I think you dropped this. It looks important. Good luck asking her. You're welcome, Susannah." A heart circled around the word 'her,' and he could picture the maid winking at him. He smiled and kept the note on the counter.

He had been lucky. He knew that he was. Other people—not only maids— would have seen that ring in the trash bucket and kept it for themselves. They would be selfish, although he knew that if they had seen it in the trash, the person probably would have assumed that the owner did not need it anymore. The maid, Susannah, was a special person, an honest person, and that was something great. They needed honest people in the world, for he knew that there were not many. He respected her, and scribbled down on the note—not sure if the maid would ever get it—"Thank you" in capital letters.

He patted the ring in his pocket again and apparated back to his hometown, back to his own home. He would not allow Fred, if he was there, to know that he was home. No one could know. He was stopping in for one thing, and then apparating back to the hotel room so he could travel back to the hospital. The house was silent—he assumed that Fred was either at the shop or out to eat with Meg. It was usually loud in the house when they were alone, surprisingly, considering it would be one person in a large home, due to their experimentations. Sometimes they listened to music when they were alone, or sang quietly—and quite pathetically—to themselves.

He grabbed the object he wanted and apparated back to the hotel room and sprinted out of the room. He hastily made him way back to the hospital, carrying the object carefully and keeping a hand to his pocket so he knew the ring would not fall out. The clouds gathered in, and the rain started up once more. The air was warm and getting thicker as he moved through the crowds. People would yell, telling him to slow down. He dodged people, and did not bother to apologize when he bumped into people. Those people usually chose some select words, and he would yell back at them, "I'm going to the hospital!"

He crashed through the doors of the hospital and sprinted to Hermione's room, ignoring the doctor's calls begging him to slow down. He opened the door to her room, not caring that they had told him to stay out until they came to get him. A few of the doctors looked at him as he walked straight towards Hermione. Some glided towards him as to push him away, but he pushed through them. "Get out of here, son!" one of them yelled. "I said get out of here! Don't make me call security!" He threatened George, but he did not care. He knew that they thought he had gone mad, but the doctor he had talked to one-on-one earlier seemed to be nodding as though he was allowing him the chance to speak with Hermione on a one-sided conversation.

"Just let me talk to her. Just let me speak with her and say goodbye before something bad happens," George begged. The doctors moved aside and George sat in the chair next to Hermione's bed. He pulled the ring out of his pocket and sat the other object on the floor for a moment. He looked at Hermione and the doctors sighed. "I'm really sorry, Hermione. You know, I've kind of given up hope that you will survive, so I've decided to give you the present that I've been waiting to give to you. I'm not really sure if I have said this to you before… I can't even remember, that's how pathetic I am… but… I love you, Hermione. I mean, I'm guessing I could love you a little bit more if I knew you better and if we stay together for a longer period of time, but I need you to be there to do that, so that means that you have to live. You're a smart girl, Hermione. You can figure this out. I know you can."

George fiddled with the ring in his hands. He looked down at it and smiled. "I think you deserve this. You can answer my question when you wake up, but you can have this for now, if you'd like. Will you marry me when you wake up?" he asked the unconscious body. No reply can, unsurprisingly. He slipped the ring onto Hermione's ring finger anyways and stared at it. "I know that this is incredibly fast, and I know that it's probably strange for everyone that I'm talking to some unconscious person, but I can't risk this again. When you wake up, you can decide, if you want to marry me, when we get married, and any plans you want. Take your time. I just do not want to lose you."

He looked down at the object he had brought and picked it up. He stood up slowly and walked over to the doctor that he had had a one-on-one conversation with. He offered the object and the doctor took it hesitantly. "It's nothing bad. I just have to ask you a question. It's a truth or dare cube, and it has a built in… um… lie detector. You need to pick truth, and I will ask you whether or not Hermione will live. Don't ask any questions, please. Just do this for me. Do this for your patient, Hermione. I know that this may seem very strange, and this is even strange for me. You may feel a little weird if you answer incorrectly. But this is very serious. Please," George begged. The doctor nodded, and George smiled weakly.

"Okay. Thank you very much. So, truth or dare?" he asked the doctor. The doctor replied with truth, and George nodded. "Is Hermione going to live?" The doctor looked at the cube he was holding and frowned. He was unsure of this, and was unsure of what George had meant when he had said that he would feel a little weird if he answers incorrectly. The doctor glanced at the other doctors for a moment, all of whom were watching him intently. They were all looking excited, as if this were a television program and it had gotten to a very mysterious part, or a movie when it got to the suspenseful part.

"Well, it's possible. We may have to give her bone marrow transplants to save her, but there is always the possible chance that her body may reject it, and it may be a hopeless cause. It all depends on what we doctors do to help her survive, and the way her body handles it," the doctor answered, and George nodded. The doctor looked worried, but he did not feel any different, and he had answered as honestly as he could. "We would also give her some other types of medicine to go along with transplant. However, we have to find a matching donor, and on her records it said that she had no living relatives."

"Try to walk forward, please," George instructed. The doctor raised his eyebrows at the redhead, and George nodded. "Come on, walk forward. It's not very hard." The doctor looked at George blankly, and then at his feet as though worried. George smiled. "That was an incorrect answer. That means that you only have two other choices as answers. Yes and no. One of those has to be the correct answer, and you will be able to move your feet again. I know, this is a weird truth or dare cube. It's just new technology. It sends shockwaves through your legs which go to your feet. The shoes you're wearing stick to whatever surface they are on. It's strange. I bought it in… um… some weird country that not many people have heard of. It's a nice place, though." He had fixed the cube up some. It was stronger and better than before.

The doctor nodded. "Okay, then." The other doctors looked expectantly at him, urging him to answer quickly. It was not before long that a loud bang was heard on the door and a troop of people wandered in. All of them had red hair, and they all varied in height. There were four of them: all of them were considered Hermione's family, and all of them were literally George's family. Somehow, the Weasley family—Ron, Mrs. Weasley, Fred, and Ginny—had found there way to Wales and found the hospital where Hermione was. George stared at them in awe, and they all gazed at Hermione on the bed.

"I guess we found the correct room. I heard you come home," Fred told his twin. The doctors were all staring at the family as though they were mad, and Fred frowned. "I heard you rummaging around, and then I knew you left. I went to tell mum, and then she said she would find out, as quickly as possible, where Hermione was staying. So, she did. And we found her. What happened?" Ginny walked towards her sick friend and touched her hand, shivering slightly.

"Mum," Ginny called, and her mother walked towards her. "Look at that." Ginny pointed at the ring on Hermione's finger, and George blushed.

"She was dying—she is dying, rather," George said. "I didn't want to lose her. And I could not possibly tell you all. I knew that you would swarm down here and bug her. I was frightened, all right? I was scared of this happening, and it did. She doesn't even know that I asked her to marry me… I know it's fast, mum… but…"

"Mr. Weasley, sir," the doctor, who was still frozen in place, muttered. "I would appreciate if you could stop these shockwaves. If you would like to have Ms. Granger live, I will have to be able to move to do so." George nodded. He looked at Ron, who was biting his thumb and fighting back tears. Ginny hugged him tightly, and Mrs. Weasley broke into a sob. The doctor frowned, and put it out in the open. "No. I do not believe that Hermione will survive this time."

George frowned, and the Weasley family watched the doctor closely. The doctor stood still for a moment before point towards Hermione's body. "Wait! Look! Turn around! She is awakening!" the doctor exclaimed. George jolted around and stared at Hermione's face. Sure enough, her eyes were slowly flickering open. She blinked blankly and coughed.

"Hermione!" George shouted. He bent down and kissed her gently on the lips and she stared up at him. "Oh, Hermione, I am so sorry. Hermione, I love you. I love you." The Weasley's all smiled at her, and in a moment everyone was crying—even Fred. The doctor smiled as Hermione looked at George.

"I love you to," she said softly. Her voice was less than a whisper. It was weak, but George could hear it. He looked quickly back at the doctor, and glanced at his feet.

"I'm not moving," the doctor smiled. "So, I believe that I only have one option left, do I not?"

Hermione tugged gently at George's pants. "Y-yes…" she said quietly. "To your question. But I think we should plan this together." George's heart was beating quickly, and he kissed Hermione again. Everything was happening so quickly. Soon he saw that Hermione was also crying, and he brushed the tears off of her cheeks.

"How did you wake up?" he asked her.

"I'm not sure," she explained. The doctors were gathering around her, checking her forehead and her pulse. They were jiggling buttons on machines and moving about randomly. "I think—I think I heard your voice. I thought it was a dream, so I ignored it. But then I heard Fred's voice, and Ginny's voice. They became clearer and clearer, and I decided that I should have a peek at what was going on."

The doctor who was frozen cleared his throat. "I have something I would like to say." George nodded, and grabbed Hermione's hand. "Yes. I believe that Hermione will survive."

And his feet moved.

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Author's Note: Aren't I the nicest author ever? I mean, really. I think that was the nicest thing I have ever done in my entire life. Okay, maybe not, but still. You guys are so lucky that I take into consideration your opinions of this. Because for a really long time I had been planning to kill her off. But I like having you guys not hate me, so it swung my decision a little bit. See, I'm a softy! I'm such a nice person! It's quite pathetic, actually.

Anyways, this is it! It's the end! Another story completed. Oh, and it was my little baby. I'm sad, yes, but I think I can actually get to work on all of my other fanfictions now. This one has been preoccupying me for quite some time now. I deserve a little break, don't you think? Besides, I took time off of my major project to write this for you!

By the way, I really appreciate everyone who has been reviewing since the beginning. There are so many of you that if I list everyone, it will just be another 1,000 words, or something. Besides, you know who you are. Thank you so much, ya'll! Trust me, I'm serious. There are so many of you who have been here with me since the beginning. You guys rock!

The characters—except for the O.C.s—belong to J.K. Rowling. Most of the other stuff does to, except for the plot. Yay! How exciting!

Thank you all so much! I really appreciate everything! Happy reading!