Disclaimer: Obviously, the characters aren't mine. Situations are of my doing. I had simple line spacers. but if forcing me to use huge ugly lines. If you know how to fix this, hit me up. Just as promised, you are now able to enjoy the reworkings of The Gap Between Now & Forever. Please enjoy responsibly.
Warnings: Mentions of suicide, adult language, and future sexual situations
Chapter 1: Rain, Rain, Go Away
Hermione Granger landed in the fireplace of her living room in Coatham, to her humble cottage near the sea. Angered by her co-workers antics, the large pile of work at her desk that seemed to multiply every time she blinked and the terrible weather sweeping across England, the young witch threw her belongs onto the couch and took a deep breath. 'The day is over. It's Friday. There's no work tomorrow. You're home now,' she thought. 'All that you need to worry about now is what to make for dinner and which book to read tonight.'Hermione looked about the quiet living room, the rain and the waves crashing being the only sounds to fill the empty spaces. Releasing another sigh from her lips, she made her way to her room to change into her nightgown.
Her footsteps seemed to bellow as she walked down the short hallway, the creaking of her door like a monster from the movies she watched as a child with her parents. Even the growling from her empty stomach echoed. While there was a time when she could appreciate such silence, this just felt deafening to her.
She was tired and it showed. From the pace she used to take off her left shoe, her right shoe, her left sock, her right sock; to the way she stared blankly at nothing in particular as she slipped her gown over her head and turned to leave her bedroom and head into the kitchen. Hermione felt almost mechanical in her movements and, for the first time in years, her head was void of thoughts. Having thoughts required thinking to begin with, and for thinking one needed energy. Even the small, insignificant noises around her began to go unregistered. If she could just make it to the kitchen and make herself some dinner, then everything would be just fine.
The first few moments of arriving to an empty house were always the most nerve-wracking of times and she just really didn't want to think about it. As she pushed the swinging door to her kitchen, Hermione's eyes immediately fell unwillingly to the calendar that was magnetized to the fridge door. There was no need to look, she knew, but it had become almost a tick for her. Today, of all days, she did not want to know existed. Today marked what would have been three years together, but instead it marked three weeks alone. Teeth clenched, Hermione took a strong gulp and a deep breath to keep her emotions in check and her tears from forming. 'Tonight is to celebrate the end of the work week and to relax, and I'll be damned if I don't have that.'Her eyes never left the pages of the calendar as she opened the door to the fridge to grab something, anything.
And that's when Hermione found the last bottle of butterbeer, opened and half drunk, in the back of her fridge behind a jug of juice and a few water bottles. To the average person, that might not have meant much; to Hermione however, it was the last piece of him and a symbol of everything he did that made her angrier than anything else ever had. She knew, somewhere in the back of her brilliant mind, that she was crying because it was suddenly harder to breathe and her heart was pounding out of control. Slamming the door shut, Hermione grabbed a glass out of the dish rack and flicked her wand at a group of wine bottles from the counter, charming them to follow behind her as she walked quickly out and into the living room. Her mind never even registered the sound of plates and decor jumping from their shelves and crashing to the floor as a result of her high emotions.
The wine bottles floated their way down to the hard wood floor of her living room as she elegantly sat down in her chair facing the window. Her hand shook as she grabbed the first bottle and poured the wine to the brim. Suddenly, everything hurt and the pain in her chest was getting harder to ignore. She knew what was coming, knew what was happening. Despite how hard she had fought for the past few weeks, she was going into a dark place and she was too weak to fight it tonight.
Tonight, the final string broke.
"I worry about that poor girl."
"I know, Mum. I worry about her, too."
Molly Weasley was, as usual, fretting about her children - both blood and adopted - while preparing dinner. There weren't too many in attendance tonight, but that wasn't an unusual occurrence these days. Tonight's dinner would be just for herself, her husband, her politically obsessed son and the remainder of her twin sons, with leftovers just in case anyone decided to show up (though they usually didn't).
"I still don't see why Ronald had to go and screw everything up, as usual! I swear, he'll regret his mistake soon and it will be too late!"
It was nearly three weeks before Ron had admitted the real reason behind Hermione's unusual absence at the Friday night family dinner everyone attended. An uncomfortable silence had hung in the air around them that night that hadn't been there in years. He could still taste the betrayal and hurt in Harry's words as he asked Ron, "How could you?" Looking up at the sudden movement of the family clock, George Weasley watched as the hand of his third eldest brother moved from "traveling" to "home".
"Are you stressing yourself about this again, Mum? How many times have I told you to leave it be! She's better off without him anyways."
Percy Weasley barely had enough time to dodge her oven mitt before he was able to finish his feeble attempts at defending Hermione. He had been one of the many that had been fooled by Hermione's insistence that she was doing fine, and believed that they were better off without each other.
"If it'll make you feel better, I'll take some of the leftovers over to her house after dinner, Mum. You know, check up on her and see for myself that she's doing alright," George told her before moving to get the plates.
This had become a nightly tradition before anyone had realized it. Now on his own, George had grown tired of cooking for one and had slowly started coming back to the Burrow for dinners with his parents. Percy had soon followed suit to help make up for the lack of time spent over the last few years. Going along once again with routine after setting down his cloak and bag, Percy set off after the silverware.
"That would make me feel much better, dear. Thank you."
The ground was chilled from the lack of heat inside the quiet home, but it didn't matter anymore. Her eyes felt swollen and everything looked blurred. She raised the glass to her lips again, despite the internal struggle not to. The early November weather outside closely matched the feelings within her. It felt cold, wet, and dreary. The hiccup that escaped her mouth, she supposed, was as close as she'd ever come to a chuckle or giggle again. Though their break-up had occurred nearly a month ago, the pain still felt raw from holding it in for so long. She was so sure that this was it, that he would be the man she spent the rest of her life with. He had told her once that the love he had for her would last forever.
"It's all a load of fucking crap-filled shrewts," she sobbed into her glass before gulping down more of her wine.
She paused, feeling another tidal wave of dizziness passed over her. She contemplated not drinking anymore seeing as she'd already polished off two full bottles of glorious wine, but she couldn't stop, didn't want to stop. It had been brewing inside her for so long and she wanted nothing more than to be able to drink away every touch she could still feel on her skin, every memory of them in bed, every dinner he ever cooked, and every time she waited and gave him another undeserved chance.
Not trusting herself enough to use her wand, she manually uncorked the next bottle of red wine that barely registered as a housewarming present from Bill and Fleur. The wine was poured into the glass and was raised in a silent toast as the half-filled glass was downed in four large gulps.
"Mum, I do believe you've outdone yourself tonight!"
George wiped off any traces of the wonderful dinner and dropped his napkin onto the table. Molly chuckled before taking a sip of wine.
"You say that at least once a week, everyweek, George Weasley! I'm beginning to think you're only flattering me so you can keep getting free meals every night!"
Percy and their father, Arthur Weasley, couldn't help but laugh along with the playful banter that usually followed George's remarks. George took in an overly dramatic gasp and clutched his chest in pain.
"Mother! How could you possibly say something like that! And about your own son! I'm offended, and I think the only way you could make it up to me is if you—"
"—Gave you two scoops of strawberry ice cream with your pie instead of one," the others finished for him.
"Well," he started as he placed both hands behind his head and moved his body in a more relaxing manor, "since it seems we're all in agreement with it…"
"That sweet talk won't work tonight, love. In case you've forgotten, you promised to take food over to Hermione's after dinner. Now that dinner's over, you'll be rushing right along, won't you?"
George mumbled something about no one understanding his pain and his family loving Hermione more than him as Molly handed him to freshly contained batch of food. He gave a quick wave to his laughing brother and father, gave his mother a peck on the cheek, and popped loudly out of the kitchen to a small house near the sea in Coatham.
"Sometimes, it's just not right. Sometimes, we have to accept that the pieces just don't fit."
"After all these years. After all this time! AFTER EVERYTHING I'VE DONE FOR US!"
Hermione poured the last of the wine from the bottle to her mouth, foregoing the glass completely. Fleeting thoughts swept quickly through her mind as her body moved against her will. 'No one else will be here for you. No one else will love you. You'll never be enough. All that work for nothing. It all amounts to nothing. You amount to nothing. You will fade into nothing.'
"I'm sorry, Hermione."
She could still hear his words so clearly.
"Get out," she spoke into an empty room.
It felt like she was reliving the past. The once crumpled pieces of wood had somehow put themselves back together and he was back in the chair he called his. The air became hard to breathe and tears that had appeared to run out began free-flowing down her cheeks once more. His words rang loud and clear throughout the inner walls of her mind.
"I never meant for this to happen, 'Mione. You have to believe me."
And just like that night, she could feel all of the hurt snap her from inside as she used up the last of her energy to scream at the memory of him.
She could feel the constant and steady waves of dizziness wash over her in rhythm to the high tide outside, but didn't give in. Blinking several times helped her to regain some clear vision back. Ronald was no longer in her home to destroy the few remaining pieces of her heart, and the chair he sat on weeks ago had somehow gone back into its mangled form. A few more tears glided their way down to the floor before she found the strength to move away again.
It had felt like her very soul had been violently detached from her body; like a Dementor had succeeded in trapping her alone in a dark corner miles away from help. 'It'll never end.'Her eyes focused on the mirror at the end of the hall. Staring back at her was the face of a girl with overly pale skin, lifeless eyes, and no traces of ever having smiled. Disgusted, she turned away from her reflection and continued down the hall to her room.
Her limbs felt like they weighed more than she remembered them being as she slipped the straps of her nightgown off her shoulders and pushed her knickers to the floor. 'You'll be alone for the rest of your life.' She headed for the bathroom and straight for the tub wanting nothing more than to feel the warmth of something, anything, devouring her body once more.
She remembered the moment she originally resized the tub. Ginny couldn't understand why she'd want a tub that was big enough to fit three people in it until she calmly explained to her best mate that it was so that both she and Ron would be able to comfortably fit in it. 'This should be your coffin.'
She contemplated that last thought as she watched the rain pour down outside the small house. What if she ended it now? She already knew that she had no one left, so why live lonely forever when she can leave now and join dear friends in the elsewhere?
'So tired… It'd be nice to sleep,' she thought as she shifted slightly in the tub. 'It'd be nice to fall asleep and never wake up.'
The water surrounded her up to her nose, and the last thing she remembered before losing consciousness was the faint voice of someone calling her name.
George arrived directly onto Hermione's porch and grumbled as he suddenly found himself in the middle of a storm. He quickly casted a shield charm around his body to keep from getting soaked to the bones, seeing as it had already done a number on his clothes. George attempted to wipe off some of the water from his face, but to no avail.
"This is exactlywhy I wanted ice cream first, and I bet you're just getting a kick out of this Fred," George grumbled, shooting a dirty look skyward.
Out of the corner of his eye, the flickering of a lamp in the window caught his attention. George peered in to see if she was in the front room and felt his stomach sink.
Half of the lamp was on the floor in shards, while other half was strewn across the small side table and the arm of the couch. Pieces of wood were piled in the corner with tear marks along the walls behind it as what George assumed used to be a chair. Bottles littered the floor near broken glass and scattered shoes. Picture frames laid in a fashion that reminded him of bodies from the War; their frames in splinters, the pictures torn to shreds, the glass shattered around them.
Something was terribly wrong and old fears mixed with new ones as hypothetical situations formed in his mind; runaway Death Eaters had come to finish the job or a random murderer had sought her out as his next victim. She'd done herself in.
George shook his head. 'No. Don't be stupid. There are too many wards on her house for her to be attacked. And suicide? She'd never do anything like that. Me on the other hand…'
George moved back to the door and began frantically knocking on the door.
He tried to call out as loudly as possible to not be drowned out by the crashing waves and heavy rain, only to be greeted with nothing but silence. He knocked again and called out to her, panic growing faster in him than he could push down. After the third try, George pulled his wand out of its holder in his robe and decided that he wasn't going to waste any more time if Hermione was in some sort of danger.
George watched as the door flew open and nearly unhinged from the spell. Running into the room he realized it was in a much worse state than it appeared from the outside. The kitchen door was directly to the right, but all he found were cupboards doors open and gripping for life to hinges to prevent from falling and plates broken all over the place. 'Whoever did this was in a right rage,' he thought. He rushed back out of the doorway and headed down the hall where a thin stream of light peaked from around the corner. 'We should have come to visit her instead of believing what we read in her letters.'
"Hermione!" George yelled out. 'She should be responding.' "Merlin, Fred, don't let them take her, too."
Images of a mangled body molded in his mind. The moments of finding out about Fred's death refreshed in his mind as he ran to the door left ajar. George burst through the room and found that it seemed it was the only room in the house left untouched. Not a thing out of place, no sign of dust anywhere. The only thing that gave away anyone ever walking through here were feminine undergarments laying on the floor in front of the door to the—
"Bathroom," he breathed.
Water was spilling out from underneath the bathroom door. George covered his mouth with the back of his hand to muffle his cries. 'She's in there,'was all he could think.
"No! I am NOT losing anyone else!"
The next few minutes seemed to play out in slow motion for George as he ran over the drenched hard wood floors and into the bathroom. His hand was still connected to the door as he found the large bath to his left overflowing with water and could clearly see a body at the bottom. His entire body felt frozen.
"NO! Merlin, no!'
George rushed to the tub and dove his hands in the water to recover her body. He struggled to get her out and keep his balance on the slippery tile. He kept calling out her name in hopes that she'd come to, that he was wrong and this was all an accident. He laid her down on the floor as gently as possible, trying to remember any and all spells he could think of to get the water out and the air back in, but nothing came to mind. His head was blank and all he could see was her still form.
His hands hovered over her, still in shock and in disbelief of the site in front of him. The helpless feeling that once clouded his very being at the sight of his deceased twin forced its way back to the surface. While he knew that losing control over his emotions wouldn't bring the girl lying before him back to life, a part of him just couldn't stop.
"DO SOMETHING FOR FUCK'S SAKE, FRED! HELP ME PLEASE!" The echoes of his anguished screams bounced around the room.
It was times like these when George realized how much Fred had helped make one complete being. Fred could handle changes in plans and come up with quick fixes to give George enough time to come up with new plans of his own. He'd have been able to get someone from St. Mungo's here while Fred tried to get Hermione to start breathing again. George tried to think of what Fred, or hell even Hermione herself, would have done in a situation like this. 'Obviously, they'd have used their wands.'
George leaned over Hermione's body and scrambled at his wand before the water rushing out of the room carried away his wand as well.
"Vidial-… veedila-… No. FUCK! Hermione, I can't r-remember! HELP ME!"
George cradle Hermione's dying body close to him and cried into the crook of her neck, his wand still clutched in his hand. Later, George would look back on this night convinced that Fred was by his side from the moment he left the Burrow until now, when in the back of his mind it came. George quickly pulled Hermione away from his body and laid her back down on the floor.
"Videlicet latuseris! Sileo spiritus!"
The fog that had been hovering inside of his mind had disappeared and he felt as if he could see things clearly again. A violent cough erupted from the naked woman in his arms as he began to figure out his next move. George sent his patronus after Katie Bell, his former classmate who was an apprentice to a very successful healer at St. Mungo's, with a message to come quickly and quietly, not knowing yet if he wanted the world to know that tonight he saved Hermione Granger from herself.