Set during OOTP, post MoM battle.


Charlie was terrified. He had gotten word that six students had gone to the Department of Mysteries and had dueled Death Eaters.

His Order charm, which was tied to his wrist with a leather thong, had heated and Moody's voice told him to go to Hogwarts immediately.

The problem was that Moody didn't tell him if everyone was okay or not.

Hermione, Ginny, Ron, Harry…

Their names kept repeating in his head like a mantra.

He stepped into his fireplace and yelled, "12 Grimmauld Place, London!" Green flames engulfed him, and, a few minutes later, he stepped out of a fireplace and into the most depressing parlor ever.

He hurried to the apparition point in the walled in back yard, and apparated to just outside the gates of Hogwarts.

He was really lucky that he didn't splinch himself, he was that distracted.

Minutes later he was racing through the deserted corridors, and, at last, he arrived at the closed doors to the Hospital Wing.

"What's going on? Is everyone okay?" he asked between deep breaths.

"Well…" Molly began, looking sad, "Sirius is dead, Tonks and Kingsley are in St. Mungos. Remus is beside himself; between losing Sirius, and Tonks being hurt, he's just not in good shape…"

"Wait," Charlie said, "What about the students? Harry, Ron, Ginny, Hermione…how are they?"

Arthur shifted nervously. "Ron's a little out of it; he was hit with a powerful Confundus charm, but it should wear off in an hour or so, and he has some scarring on his arms. Ginny has a broken ankle and a few scratches, but will be fine in no time. Harry…is okay…physically…emotionally, though…well…he just lost the closest thing to a father that he's ever had, and he feels like it's his fault. Hermione…" Arthur sighed looking more haggard now than before. "It's been touch and go for while now. She was hit with the – the Dissolutus Viscus curse."

Charlie's face paled. "What does it do?"

Arthur exchanged a look with Molly.

"Dad! What does it do?"

Arthur rubbed his forehead. "Dissolutus Viscus means weak heart. It does exactly that…it weakens the heart."

"Shit!"

"The sooner a person gets to a Healer afterwards the better…but…Hermione was lying unconscious for most of the battle. Harry was the only one who knew what curse she had been hit with, and Dumbledore spent over an hour talking to him before he was able to come here."

Charlie sat down on the bench that was by the doors. He leaned forward supporting his head in his hands.

He didn't notice his father sitting down beside him. He didn't even realize that he was crying until his mother gave him a handkerchief.

They sat waiting for the next hour. Then…

The doors opened, and Madam Pomfrey stepped out.

"How's Hermione?" Molly asked quickly.

The healer brusquely said, "She'll heal. She's going to be very weak for a few months yet. She'll need to be in a relaxing environment, preferably far away from England and the war. Maybe in the countryside somewhere."

Professor McGonagall, who had arrived at some point while Charlie was crying, looked distraught. "As her parents are Muggles, we should probably assign her a guard for wherever she goes…she needs to be protected now more than ever."

"I'll volunteer to be her guard. She can spend the summer in Romania. It's peaceful there," he said to McGonagall.

"I'll talk to Albus about it." She patted him on the shoulder and left.

Charlie turned to the healer. "Can we see her?" he asked hoarsely.

Madam Pomfrey looked at him, surprise etched onto her face. "I suppose so…but you'll have to go one at a time." She smiled at him. "She's in the room in the very back…she needed the privacy."

Charlie hurried through the doors and down the aisle, thankful that everyone in there was asleep. He cracked open the door to her room.

There she is. Damn, her face is too pale. Charlie moved to her side, and touched her left hand.

He sank into the chair by her side, picked up her hand and lightly kissed the palm. She didn't move.

He sat by her side in silence for several hours. Apparently his parents decided to forego visiting her so that he could stay by her side.

Her eyes flickered. She slowly opened them. She blinked quickly and then she was fully awake.

"Good morning, Love," Charlie said softly, his voice cracking.

She smiled weakly. "G'morning," she yawned.

"How are you feeling?"

"About as good as you look," Hermione murmured. "You stayed up all night didn't you?"

Charlie smiled. "Yeah. You gave me quite a scare, you know?"

"I'm sorry," she said softly.

She lifted her hand and lightly caressed the side of his face.

As she drifted off to sleep again, she whispered, "Don't go."

"I won't…I promise, I'll never leave you," he said to her as she slept. He stood and pressed a kiss to her forehead, and sat back down. "I promise."