Well hello again!
So this was a little unexpected. I had a brainwave about doing a small sequel to Together Forever and the idea has grown from a one-shot to a small multi chapter. I've decided to hold off posting the other multi-chapters I had planned until after the release of Deathly Hallows, as well as that small thing I have some other personal stuff that is taking up a bit of time, so I'll have even less time for writing and I want to put all my energy into those fics. Sorry, now I'm waffling.
So, as I said, this is an 'after' to Together Forever, but won't be hugely long.
As ever, any constructive feedback is appreciated, so please let me know what you think. ;)
Chapter 1 - Making a Decision
They'd been fighting off the Death Eaters to keep them away from Harry, to give him chance to finish of Voldemort for good. Her heart had leapt when she heard the words, but then it sank within an instant when she realised it wasn't Harry's voice that had screamed the killing curse.
She desperately wanted to look over her shoulder to make sure Harry was still alive, but she couldn't. There was a tall Death Eater bearing down on her and he was intent on causing as much damage to her as possible before he killed her.
'Sectumsempra!' he screamed at her, and her eyes widened as she saw, in slow motion, the curse coming towards her.
She turned out of its way. It didn't hit her fully, but skimmed her side. She felt the stinging sensation spread around her waist, but the adrenaline pumping through her veins numbed the pain and she concentrated on throwing her own curses at the Death Eater.
The Death Eater stumbled backwards and lost his footing as a result of the first curse, and then was thrown backwards as a result of the second. He landed on the ground and didn't move. Hermione didn't like to think that she might have just killed him, even though it was more than likely that she had. Not many people could live when their lungs had been compressed to a ridiculous degree.
She took a second to breathe and that's when the pain in her side came back to her. Not so bad that it distracted her completely, but enough to make her stop and look at her wound. There was blood all over her top and it snaked its way round her stomach and stopped where she knew her belly button was.
'Hermione!' Ron screamed at her. 'What the hell happened? IMPEDIMENTA!'
The Death Eater Ron was fighting flew backwards and landed hard on the ground twenty feet away, accompanied by a sickening crack as his head hit the solid earth.
Ron ran to Hermione and looked at her blood soaked top.
'I'm fine, Ron!' she said before he had the chance to open his mouth.
'No, you're not! You're pouring with blood, Hermione! Let me help you!'
She glanced over his shoulder and saw a hooded figure running towards Harry. This was what she was afraid of; her and Ron failing in their mission of keeping everything but Voldemort away from Harry. Her eyes widened.
'Ron! Harry! Help him!' she spluttered.
Ron whipped his head round and he saw the man running towards the duel that was raging between Harry and Voldemort. As he was about to let go and leave Hermione, she stumbled into him, the blood loss finally taking its toll on her body.
'Shit! Hermione! What's wrong?' He grasped her arms and steadied her.
'Go, Ron! Now!'
He went to argue but she looked at him fiercely.
'You promised me! You promised Harry! Go and protect him! You need to! GO!'
His jaw clenched. He knew that he had to leave her to go and help Harry. He nodded curtly and ran away from her, anger filling him with every step he took away from Hermione.
He headed for the hooded figure, hatred filling his heart more as he got closer. It was him who had made him choose between the two people who he loved more than anyone else in the world.
He sent a curse at his back and the wizard stumbled and hit the ground. He scrambled to his feet and carried on running without looking at where the curse had come from.
'NO!' Ron screamed and fired another three curses at the figure.
Again he fell and this time he didn't get up.
Ron stood over him and rolled him onto his back with the toe of his boot. The fallen man was struggling to open his eyes, obviously just stunned. Ron wasn't surprised, that was what he intended.
Hermione watched from the floor, her legs having gone from underneath her, as the man she loved did what he had promised Harry the night before. He had simply said he would protect Harry, right until the end, whatever that end was.
She winced as she watched his boot meet the form on the ground, and closed her eyes when she saw him draw his foot back once more.
Tiredness washed over her, but she fought it. She took a deep breath and forced herself to get to her feet. Her head spun and her eyes were unfocused, but then she saw it: another figure moving out from behind a tree and towards Harry.
'Ron!' she shouted but he didn't hear her.
She moved forwards, managing to break out into a run. Her heart pounded in her ears, her vision still not fully focused.
'Depulso!' she hissed and the spell threw the Death Eater back, away from Harry.
Then she heard it; an almighty scream filled her ears and shook every bone in her body. Her head whipped round, as did everyone who heard the noise.
There was a golden light surrounding Voldemort and it seemed to be causing him huge physical pain. He was struggling to break whatever it was that had engulfed him and briefly turned his wand on himself. It did no good though, both Hermione and Ron knew what the spell was and that it wasn't going to leave him. They were just waiting for the final spell from Harry.
The killing curse.
Ron watched his best friend raise his wand and gather all his mental and physical strength. He glanced over at Hermione and was somewhat relieved to see her still standing. He subconsciously held his breath as Harry screamed the killing curse at Voldemort, and the green light left his wand.
The screaming stopped abruptly. Hermione had never felt so strange, there was no way to describe it. She stopped breathing, waiting for anything to tell her that it was all over, that they had defeated the most evil wizard of all time.
That was when the pain overtook her, hitting her with a force that made her cry out and fall to the ground. Her hand went to her side and she felt the warm stickiness that was her blood clotting but failing to stop the flow. Her head spun again and she curled up in a ball on the cold ground. Her eyes were closing, even though she was desperately trying to keep them open. She had to know what had happened. Had to know that Ron and Harry were okay, that they were all going to be okay.
Blackness invaded her peripheral vision, but then she felt hands on her, strong hands that were pulling hers away from her side. She saw a wand moving constantly and heard the ragged breathing of someone close to her interspersed with mumblings of spells.
'Come on, Hermione. Hold on for me, okay? Just stay with me. You're going to be fine.'
She felt herself being lifted and managed to open her eyes enough to see who's arms she was in.
She gave the smallest smile when she saw Ron's blue eyes above her.
'I l…' she started before having to stop. She was so tired, she just wanted to rest and sleep.
'Hermione!' Ron said again. 'Stay awake for me. For me, Hermione.'
'l…love you,' she whispered before letting the blackness overtake her completely.
Ron was pacing. He had never paced so much in his entire life.
'Ron!' Harry appeared in front of him looking battered and beaten, but his eyes showing the energy still left in him. 'How is she?'
'I don't know! No one will tell me anything because I'm not family!'
'Oh for Merlin's sake!'
'What are you doing here anyway? Shouldn't you be-'
'What?' Harry snapped. 'Shouldn't I be what, exactly?'
'Sorting yourself out? Getting checked over? Asking my sister why she didn't do exactly as she was told and stay away from that…place?'
'I'm fine, all my ridiculously insignificant injuries have been sorted, regardless of how much I protested that there were other people who needed help more than I did, and have you ever been successful in persuading your sister to not try and help protect her brother, friend and boyfriend?'
Ron stopped walking and looked at Harry.
'Ex-boyfriend!' he said looking confused.
Ron shrugged. 'No. But…are you sure you're okay?'
'I will be when I know Hermione is going to be.'
Ron shook his head and a look of anger crossed his face.
'It's not your fault she's in here, Ron.'
Ron glared defiantly at Harry.
'I'll promise not to blame myself if you promise the same,' Ron replied, looking more serious than Harry had ever seen him look.
'Is this where you tell me that you were both there because you needed to be and you would have taken it as a personal insult if I'd asked you to not be there?'
'Fine, then I'll tell you that she needed you to leave her and protect me,' he took a deep breath, he hoped Ron hadn't notice the obvious shake as he inhaled, 'because I couldn't concentrate on anything else but Riddle. I didn't like it when you told me that was what you were going to do and I don't like that you actually had to do it, but I…I understand…I suppose. What was it that Hermione said? "There's a bigger picture to our existence. The way our people live is at stake. Their freedom is at stake." I think she summed it up quite well, don't you?' He managed a half smile and Ron looked like he was trying to do the same, but failed. 'But…I won't, I won't ever get over the fact that she- that she might…because of me,'
'Don't! Don't say that! She won't. She can't!'
Ron stopped talking before his voice cracked with emotion. He swallowed and took a deep breath.
'We all did what we had to do. End of story, okay?' he said quietly.
Harry nodded. They would talk about it, of course they would, but later, now they had to try and find out what had happened to Hermione.
'What do you say to me pulling the 'Saviour of the Wizarding World' crap to get us information on Hermione?'
Ron looked the smallest bit hopeful.
'You don't mind? You hate all that bollocks!'
'I know I do, but I hate not knowing what's happened to my best friend more. Come on. Let's go and find ourselves a Healer to interrogate.'