"You're sure about this?" Ron questioned, "You can still change your mind."
I gazed across the kitchen at him. He was leaning against the counter, drinking coffee out of his favorite coffee mug, a cracked Chudley Cannons one. I'd often pestered him to repair the crack, but he proclaimed that the crack gave it 'character'. His hair was shorter than it ever had been before, a military-style haircut for the Auror program. Since it was a Saturday, he was dressed in Muggle clothing, blue jeans and a dark green t-shirt.
I stirred my tea and shook my head at him, "It was your idea."
Now he shook his head at me, smiling, "Sure, it was my idea. Then you took up the cause like you did with S.P.E.W."
I laughed as I turned the Prophet. "I haven't given up on that, you know."
Ron's tone turned seriously, "Are you sure Hermione?" I looked up at him as he continued, his facial expressions matching the tone of his voice, "I don't want you to be a martyr, like we have to do this or to feel like you didn't get a chance for your career."
I smiled loving at Ron, "Ron, it's okay. I don't feel like a martyr. I want to do this. I want him out of there."
"But your work…"
Suddenly, I was angry, "We've been through this Ron. I'll be able to do Rune translation from home, and between what I make there and your Auror stipend, we'll be fine. Let's not rehash it today, of all days."
"But just because he's my best mate…"
"Ronald, he's my friend, too!"
There was a pause while I glared at Ron, and he cowered before my gaze. Suddenly, we both started laughing. I stood up and crossed the kitchen to Ron, kissing him softly on the lips. "It's the best solution. It's been over a year. Harry hasn't been out of St. Mungo's since…" I didn't finish the sentence. Harry hadn't left St. Mungo's since Ginny Weasley's funeral, a week after his defeat of Voldemort. Ginny's death was a hard subject with any Weasley, but especially with Ron since he'd been the one to find her body.
In truth, Harry probably didn't know he was even at the funeral, but George had insisted. He loved her, too, he'd said, He should be there. It was a closed ceremony, because of Harry's presence. Nobody wanted too many people there, or for word of Harry's condition to circle the Wizarding world.
Probably the worst part of Ginny's death was the unknown. Nobody knew what happened to her except Harry—and he wasn't in any condition to tell.
I took a deep breath, "He'll be happier here."
Ron tenderly grasped my arms, "Hermione, be realistic." He paused, "Harry won't realize he's here. He won't be happier."
"Ron," I began but he cut me off.
"Hermione, I know you're planning on doing research to help him, to find out what's wrong, but please, please be realistic. Harry's condition hasn't changed since he was admitted to St. Mungo's. It's unlikely that it will now."
I realized that I was crying, and when I looked up at Ron, realized that he was as well, "This isn't about getting Harry back, Hermione. He won't be coming back. That Harry is dead. This is about taking care of Harry because he's our family. He'll be here for the rest of our lives—his too, and we'll be taking care of him for that whole time. Our Harry is dead, but this Harry is alive."
I took a ragged breath through my tears, "I know, Ron, I know." I hiccupped as I tried to stop crying, "But I'm still going to try." I said defiantly.
Ron smiled at me through his tears, "You wouldn't be Hermione if you didn't."