I'm absolutely horrified with the amount of time it took me to update this chapter, I am truly sorry and can only hope that those faithful readers are out there somewhere! Never again will a chapter be this late, but a lot of personal problems have been occurring lately and they've now finally come to a stop! I hope you enjoy- about the font- I'm so sorry if it keeps changing I truly do not know what to do, everything is always kept the same! But if you do enjoy the story- it shouldn't matter too much! Next chapter should hopefully be up by the weekend, sorry for the wait!
"Silence is the sanctuary of the prudent; it conceals not only secrets but also imperfections." - Zacharia
Chapter thirteen: Breaking the silence
Ron had been sat in the aforementioned for six days, twenty three hours, forty five minutes and seven seconds. The visit to the healers had been uplifting, but also devastating at the same time. He had barely moved from his position on the sofa, only leaving his spot to visit the bathroom or to find something to settle his queasy stomach, and sleeping whenever the need arose.
His 9.25 inch chestnut, Dragon Heartstring wand sat on the coffee table in front of him. He'd been staring at it for an innumerable amount of time, not even daring to touch it. It was the same wand that he had won from Peter Pettigrew, after his wand was stolen by the snatchers that had attacked the trio in their earlier years. He'd been content with this knowledge, somewhat proud over the fact that he outsmarted the slimy bastard. However, the pride that he once felt was dissipating.
The news from the healers was, as they said- surprising. The conversation that he had shared with the healer had been playing relentlessly in his head, reminding him of his future.
4th floor spell damage
"Mr. Weasley, if you'd be so kind as to take a seat."
He watched the Healer with a meticulous stare, trying to formulate an idea as to why he had been summoned back to the place he detested, a place that held more than a mortal abhorrence for him.
The healer gave a great sigh and he felt his stomach drop and his hands tighten on the armrests of the chair. A silence was upheld when the healer stood to close the office door and then return to position himself in his seat.
"From your current state, I am right to assume that you are eager for the 'surprising' news?"
Ron simply let his brows furrow.
"I thought that was obvious, can we just get on with it?" Ron snapped, his nerves mounting with each second that passed.
"Ever the impatient one aren't we?" the healer smiled in response, "just to clarify and to ensure we have the right patient- name and address please."
"Bloody hell! Ron Weasley- five Godrics hollow- enough?"
"Certainly." the healer replied, a small but decipherable smile surfacing on his portly face.
"From what your test results have been showing, the unknown curse that has been ravaging your system has stopped- completely."
"What- you mean-"
"Mr. Weasley, I have not yet finished. It has stopped affecting your physical system and henceforth does not seem to be proving fatal, however-"
Ron took a huge gulp- the thought of having his future back did seem to silence him somewhat.
"- it has not stopped affecting your magical core, and we are almost certain that your magical abilities will be completely wiped to such a degree that the only magical tendency you will be left with is the ability to apparate."
The last revelation had done the trick- he was silenced.
The word 'squib' was the only mantra that seemed to form in his abyss of thoughts, and the possibility of being rendered a squib was truly horrifying to Ron- a pureblood wizard who had never been without the usage of magic.
He'd been in the presence of magic since birth and had never known any different, his whole family was magical and the image of being a squib amongst his surviving family members haunted him.
"Mr. Weasley, we know that this may come as a shock- but there are people that can help, people who you can talk to for more advice-" the healer was then cut off as Ron stood and held out his hand as a sign of thanks. Having then shaken his hand, Ron left the room in complete silence, his mind still reeling from the new revelation.
He'd been thinking about his future for the past week, never uttering a word, left to ponder his thoughts in silence in the empty house that he resided in.
Due to his utter foolishness he had been rendered a squib. With the ability to apparate he reminded himself.
It was all his doing and there was nothing he could do to change it. It had occurred to him that he now had his future devoid of an early death, but then his thoughts would stray… would death be better than to become a squib?
It pained him to know that he would now have something that detached himself from his own children, and found it unsettling that he no longer would have that magical bond. Tears leaked from his eyes, and he slapped them away with a firm hand—he didn't have the right to cry—this was his punishment and he would have to deal with it.
He had left his wand on the table in front of him; refusing to use it in fear that he had already lost his abilities. He had been briefly told that it could happen anytime, and there was no charm or spell that would mend his broken core. Now the wand that had become a prized possession: a trinket of the war; was now a painful reminder of his foolishness.
Taking a moment to look around his living room, he watched the moving images of his children in the frames that adorned the mantle. Hugo pulling at Rose's pigtails, Rose chasing Hermione in the garden, Hugo and himself flying in the rain; it became clear that he still had people in the world who still needed him—despite his magical status— his children.
With his moping and imprisonment in his own home it dawned upon him that he had been a truly atrocious father to his children, and it pained him that he had been oblivious.
He needed help.
Standing to his feet he grabbed the wand that had been untouched for almost a week and apparated with one destination in mind: The Burrow.
When he felt his feet reach solid ground, he stumbled slightly, a little drained due to his affected core.
An excited screech erupted from the hall and he was soon engulfed by his mothers hold.
"Ronald Billius Weasley! Where HAVE you been?!" She pulled him away from her breast for a moment, as to study his untidy appearance.
It was then that he chose to break the silence.
"I need help mum, I need you now more than ever."
"Higher, mum! Higher!" Hugo screamed delightedly, thrusting his arms into a heroic action and kicking his legs on tandem with the swing.
"Not until you grab those chains! You could fall off!" Hermione demanded in one of her stern tones.
Hugo sighed drastically but followed his mother's orders and grabbed the chains so that he could swing higher.
"Jupiter, huh?" Hermione asked, beaming at her son's happiness.
"All the way!" Hugo replied with a childish squeal.
As she pushed the swing, the smell of wet grass meeting her senses she let her mind wander to the previous week, where she and Harry had— well almost…kissed. Her mind hadn't let the topic drop and she had been forced to relieve the moment countless times. Her parents had questioned her odd behaviour- but she couldn't tell them that she had almost kissed her best friend.
She daren't visit Harry in fear that something of the same nature should occur, it just wasn't acceptable to participate in such forbidden moments, and especially with you're soon-to-be-divorced-best-friend.
But she wanted to.
Every moment of every day following the 'moment' as she classed it, she had been daydreaming of the possible outcomes of what could have happened had she not dissapparated. She had done so out of what she thought was common sense, and she was now severely regretting it. The 'moment' was proving a great distraction in her day to day life, only aiding her tantalizing unfulfilment. It was silly to think that it wasn't unrequited, the feeling she felt at that moment; otherwise Harry would have backed out… wouldn't he?
She refused to lie to herself- she wanted the moment to arise once again- just to see what may have happened.
To her, it was odd that she could think of such a moment with her platonic friend of twenty six years. But for some unknown reason—she didn't care. It was surprising that she felt no remorse, no guilt and at the very least embarrassment at what her thoughts led to. It felt, strangely, right.
Maybe it was due to the fact that she and Ron had long given up on romance, and she needed an escape. She couldn't be sure, but she knew in her heart that the moment was probably something she had been longing for way before her marriage.
"LILY!" Hugo screamed, pulling Hermione from her reverie. Snapping her head round her eyes widened when Harry with a thoroughly wrapped up Lily came into view.
"Morning." Harry nodded, placing Lily into the swing next to Hugo. Hermione's mouth widened somewhat and she gulped and faced her son's swing once more to continue his flight.
"M-morning." she stuttered in response. The proximity between them increased her heartbeat and the moment that she 'oh so wanted to repeat' came flooding back, like the reminder of an unfinished story.
"Huuuuugo!" Lily screamed as she caught up with him in the swinging motion.
"Liiiiiiiiiily!" he responded with much vigour, the two seemed to be on such a high that Hermione found it safe to break the silence.
"What brings you here?" she asked tenderly, continuing to push the seat of the swing away from herself.
"Just thought I'd take Lily to the park."
"Why this park? The one next to my parents' house? Why didn't you go to the one round the corner from Godrics Hollow?" she asked, hitting him with a myriad of questions. He simply shrugged and adjusted his collar.
"Fancied a bit of a change."
"Oh." she replied quietly, she studied him silently; he seemed unaffected by their last encounter. His hair was as usual- an unsurprising mess, he donned a simple combination of jeans and a navy jumper, however, there was one feature that was more prominent than usual : the bags under his eyes had become more defined.
"I meant what I said the other night."
His cool and collected tone immediately reminded her that she had been almost blankly staring at him for a few minutes, and she could feel the tell-tale signs of a blush creep onto her cheeks. She furrowed her brows and cast her mind back to the 'moment', unfortunately any dialogue in her memory had been wiped and she was just left with the actions.
"About me being sorry, I didn't mean for err…that to happen."
"Really?" she asked curiously, his words sent a jolt of sadness through her- he hadn't meant it, her pining had been for nothing.
Give yourself a clap Granger- what were you expecting?
"Don't take it the wrong way- I wan- I mean- I don't know." he finally relented, giving up on continuing with his apology. His face contorted for a slight second and she could almost sense the pain that he seemed to resonate, trying to help him out of the awkward rut she replied hesitantly.
"Maybe it was just our way of comforting," she cringed instantly when it replayed in her head- but she knew it had to be somewhat true.
"Yeah, maybe." he replied solemnly.
They continued to push the swings in silence, accidentally meeting the others gaze when they glanced in synchronization.
"We're going to have to grow up you know," Harry smiled roguishly, "all these little looks are driving me nuts."
She smiled sheepishly in response, and then freed Hugo from the swing to let him scale the climbing frame. Lily immediately followed her cousin's actions and demanded she be freed from the swing. Harry being a little more childish refused until Lily had screamed that he was the best dad in the world.
"Now what do you say Lily?"
"My dad is better than any other dad." she replied in a huff, her 'angry' face reminding her father that she was too old for his games.
"Glad to know you're learning!" he shouted as she raced to her cousin.
"Harry, you can be so juvenile sometimes!" Hermione scalded him, tapping him lightly in the shoulder- quickly pulling her had back to her own after her moment of forgetfulness- no touching she reminded herself.
"She has to learn it someday!" he replied defiantly, "I'm the only one she's got."
After an awkward pause, she retreated to the nearest bench and he followed suit, sitting an appropriate distance from her body.
Soon, a nagging curiosity overwhelmed her and she couldn't help but to ask.
"I don't believe for a second that you knew where this park was, how did you find it?"
She crossed her arms at his revelation and he noticed her scowl.
"Should they not have told me?"
"No, its just that they respect my wishes, and I told them that I didn't want any visitors." she replied quietly- why had her parents gone behind her back?
"They seemed quite surprised to see me actually, I asked where you were and they told me straight away. Your mother even tried to draw me a map… quite adamant, that one." Harry laughed in remembrance. Hermione nudged him gently with her elbow, and with a 'come on, you know its true' glance from Harry she too burst into peels of laughter.
Their mirth lightened the atmosphere somewhat and Hermione felt herself ease, the sense of dread lifting from the mix of feelings she had culminated.
Hermione continued to chuckle softly and nodded, "reminds me of myself."
"Ah, so THAT'S where Hermione Weas—Granger's stubbornness comes from!"
"Yeah, and for the future record, I suppose its Granger now. I don't think there's any going back to… well…you know."
He nodded as she quieted and another silence fell, the only sound echoing from the two children entertaining themselves.
As she sat with her best friend, the 'moment' that refused to disappear from her mind continued to play and she observed him intently as he watched the children.
Would it have been so bad if she hadn't left?
If she'd have stayed and not retreated?
"Enjoying the view?" he asked her abruptly whilst keeping his gaze on the children. She jumped as he spoke and fought to regain composure, fiddling with the gloves that concealed her fingers.
"Not really, there's this really irritating imbecile in my way, and its irking me to no end."
"You'll pay for that Granger."
"Please!" the two red-headed children begged, latching onto both Harry and Hermione valiantly.
"It's all up to what Grandma and Grandpa Granger say Hugo- ask them, not me." Hermione told her son as he pleaded for Lily to stay a little longer.
The four had reached the Granger residence when Hugo and Lily refused to depart from one another.
"I hate living here! I NEVER get to see Lily anymore!" Hugo huffed, stomping his foot as Hermione sighed.
"It's not for long baby, just until your father and I have come to an agreement on who is going to live where." She comforted him.
"But, why! We all live in the same house!"
"I've told you Hugo," Hermione whispered as Harry turned away from the conversation with Lily, "your father and I don't get along very well anymore and we decided to live separately, but you're still going to see the both of us as much as you like."
"I know but what about Lily? We never get to see each other anymore, and I don't like it!" he scrunched up his face in a dissatisfied fashion, and Hermione had to prevent herself from laughing when he put his hands on his hips.
"Well, how about you and Lily arrange a play date once every week, then you'll get to see each other a lot more, until we sort out where everyone is going to live, huh?" she asked him, trying to come to an alternative.
"Oh-kay." he sighed drastically, running back to Lily and then dragging her inside his grandparent's house.
"I think your daughter might be staying here tonight," Hermione smiled as the front door slammed shut.
"Peace at last!" Harry cheered, pumping his hand in the air as a sign of mock glee.
As he danced in a clumsy circle, she grabbed his hand- defying her own rule of no contact and pulled him down the street, jolting him from his pretend reverie.
"I-I think we should take a walk, to discuss our… previous encounter." she told him quickly, releasing his hand and tucking her arms into her body. She didn't really know what she was supposed to say, but thought it best to get some closure, especially since he hadn't meant for it to happen.
"I suppose that's the most sensible thing that could be done." he sighed. She nodded and they took a left turn, returning to the park once again.
"Seems we have a 'thing' for coming to the park," Harry smiled, instantly hopping onto a swing.
She shook her head in mock scorn and perched herself onto the one next to his, swinging gently.
"I suppose we do." she agreed softly, her somewhat tamed mass of curls fidgeting in the breeze.
"It's a place where most normal children visit, we didn't have that normal childhood—maybe that's why we come so often—for normality?" Harry spoke almost sounding as if he was thinking aloud.
"I like the philosophy you have there," she replied, swinging in tandem with his light swings.
"Did I upset you? The other day I mean?" he asked softly, scuffing his feet on the soft bark beneath his swing.
"No, you didn't. You need to stop thinking you're the only one in the wrong though, we're both to blame for this predicament."
"Since when did we become a 'predicament'?" he asked confusedly, "nothing technically happened."
"That's not the point Harry." she sighed.
"Then what is?"
"It's the fact that I wanted it Harry. It's the fact that I think I've wanted it to happen for a long time, and its only now, in the midst of this whole mess that I'm finally realizing it."
"You too then?" he smiled, continuing to swing as she came to an abrupt stop.
About Ron: I'm sorry to the readers who wanted him killed off- I couldn't do it, I couldn't be so heartless, but I think the alternative is suitable for him and I suppose he will have to learn to change a lot quicker, and it also made him look for help- something I felt was important for his character to do. More chaps to come!