Howdy all! To start with, I in no way own Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Hogwarts, etc., etc. If I had, the outcome would have been much different. Secondly, my friend Mark Chapa read this story and began to question what Harry went through during his life. So, due to his request and my wanting to have a little fun, I added an additional chapter highlighting his life. It turned out doubling the length of the original story. There were a few minor changes to it as well to make everything work. I hope that you enjoy the new and improved story. By the way, thank you Mark for the suggestion and the beta work.
Chapter 1-Death Departs
Harry fell to his battered knees. The stench of death's presence filled his nostrils as he took in a deep breath on the final battlefield. In front of him was the mangled body of Tom Riddle. The pale snake face wore an expression of fear, of disbelievement, of death. Harry continued to inhale and exhale, trying to catch his breath from the exhausting confrontation. They had battled for an eternity. Both dealt harm to the other, but neither gave up. They knew that this was it. They knew it had to end. The previous battles had dwindled the ranks of both the Death Eaters and the Order. Few were left for either side to fight for their cause.
The man-who-lived sat bent but not broken on the ground. His mind flashed to the recent deaths of his friends who were fighting with him. Sirius and Albus had been some of the first that had died before the war had really started. Remus and Tonks were the first blows and had been killed by the werewolves; Seamus, Lavender, and Shacklebolt lost their lives soon after Lupin's and Tonks' deaths. Then the loses really started to skyrocket. Auror's were killed left and right. Order members were ordered by Mad Eye to never go out without two others, and then he was killed along with Mundungus and George Weasley.
Harry had been staying with the Weasley's the night of George's death. McGonagall had brought the news to them of his passing. Molly had broken down into tears; Arthur was celebrating his son's life by remembering the times they had and the pranks he had pulled. Ginny had followed her mother's lead and cried to mourn her brother. Ron became more sullen and withdrawn, but Fred had taken it the worst of all. That night he left the burrow to travel to Diagon Alley where he killed Crabbe and Goyle with the killing curse. However, Draco tuned the tables on him to send Fred to be with his brother that night. Harry silently knew that Fred didn't want to be apart from his brother, so he got his wish. The deaths of people Harry knew climbed even higher, causing Harry to feel even more pressure to end this war. What had started almost a year ago; now was done.
Glancing around the field he could see beaten and battered bodies strewn across it through the smoky haze. Muffled moans and gasps for breath in the distance signaled that there were some survivors of the battle. Drawing himself to full height, Harry rose from the ashes scattered on the burnt ground. Putting one foot in front of the other, he began to sort through the bodies. The Patil twins lay side-by-side unmoving on the earth. Ted Nott sat clutching his shoulder missing an arm. Harry didn't want to end his suffering. Bellatrix lay twisted in front of the small body of Ginny. Harry touched her on the shoulder. Her head turned slightly to the side to reveal gaping holes left from the flesh torn from her face. Startled at the sight at first, he snaked an arm around her shoulders to offer some comfort during her time of need, but it was not welcome. She withdrew at his touch before falling to the ground allowing the tears to flow from her eyes.
Continuing across the blood stained field, he stubbed his foot on something on the ground. Looking down he could see the head of Cho rolling along the ground. The sight of the dismembered head nearly made him vomit. Swallowing the bile back down, he continued his journey. He was searching for something or someone, but he did not know what it was. In the distance, he could see the flaming hair of Ron. Rushing to his side he could see the awkwardly bent leg and arm of his best mate. His face was frozen in determined rage, forever. Dropping to one knee, Harry picked up the dead hand of his best mate. The cold skin lay in Harry's hand, unmoving.
Searching the surrounding area for the voice, Harry dropped the hand of his mate. He knew that voice. She must be close.
The voice came from his right; turning quickly he stumbled on an unrecognizable body on the ground. Again bringing himself up from the ground Harry continued searching for the voice. With the thinning smoke and haze, he saw her. Hermione lay a few meters away propped against a rock. Harry could see left arm was missing large quantities of flesh, while the right was pulled close to her chest. Rushing quickly to her side, he dropped to his knees skidding on the ground. "Hermione"
"I'm glad that you are ok, Harry. I…I can't see anything," she spoke.
Her warm voice was a welcome relief in the despair and death that filled his vision, hearing, and scent. "I'm…ok. Riddle is dead." Harry could see the hurt and shame in those cloudy brown orbs as he gazed into them. "We need to get you to St. Mungo's though, you look pretty hurt." Harry could feel the warmth in his heart start to fade away as he gazed at his best friend as she was slowly fading onto the doorstep.
"No, Harry. I am ready to pass on." Hermione reached out with her left hand to press it against his chest. "I have hurt and suffered with you as much as I could have. Now it is my time." Pausing to gather her breath she continued, "I am giving up. I never thought that I would, but now that the war is over."
"No!" Harry shouted. Hermione jumped at the sound of his voice booming in the eerie stillness of the field. "You have to make it, I need you." Gathering up her body in his arms, he began to spin on the spot recognizing the squeezing sensation of apparition.
Regaining his balance with Hermione still in his arms, he found himself standing in the foyer of St. Mungos. He glanced down at the brown hair beauty to see her smile slightly from the warmth from being in his arms. Tears started to fall from her eyes as cupped his face with a free hand. "Promise me this, Harry that you will find someone to make you happy and give you the family that you want." With those words being said, Hermione closed her eyes.
"Help me, please someone!" Harry roared. Fixated on his dying friend, he could see movement ahead of him. A man wearing white robes was rushing to his aid along with a woman dragging a bed beside her.
"Put her on this," the woman commented as she wheeled the bed underneath the lifeless form of Hermione.
"What was she cursed with?" the doctor questioned.
Harry couldn't respond to the probing. He simply shrugged his shoulders watching the body for any sign of life, but there was none.
"He's in shock; take him to a separate room, nurse."
Diverting his eyes towards the middle-aged man, Harry bellowed, "No, I go where she goes."
Upon their eyes connecting the doctor knew who these two young adults were. "Very well Mr. Potter, but you have to let us help you in the mean time."
Unsatisfied with the current situation and no real way to change it Harry relented, but pointed at Hermione, "She gets help first."
"Agreed," the man replied before he began to push the bed down the crowded corridor. Harry followed suit with the nurse grabbing him by his arm pushing him in the same direction.
Reaching an empty room, they all entered into it. Harry propped his weary body at the head of the bed as close as possible to Hermione. He could see the trails of blood soaking into her clothing causing it to cling firmly to her skin across her jumper and pants. Harry glanced up at the doctor and nurse concentrating on Hermione, before returning his gaze to her face. His mind began to recall the events they had shared in their lives. Their meeting on the train, the troll at Halloween, the quest to find the Philosopher's Stone, was all in the first year. The second brought even more turmoil with the chamber and Hermione being petrified. Harry realized something while standing in that room waiting for outcome of his friend. He realized that out of all the people in his life, he could truly trust Hermione. She was his rock through all of the bad times and the good times. She was there for him while dealing with the deaths of both Sirius and Dumbledore. She was the one that had always stood by his side no matter what happened with him. Now, it was Hermione who needed him.
Lying lifeless on the hospital bed Hermione's mind began to drift away from her broken and battered body. Slowly she rose from the bed to find herself looking at the scene that was unfolding itself in front of her. Stretching both arms and legs Hermione could feel their strength and warmth. Her pale mist looked from the healer to the nurse then to her body. The sight made her shutter to view the gaping wounds on her arms and torso. She continued looking up and down the bed and found Harry standing beside the head of the bed in disbelief at the sight in front of him. Strangely enough she could see tears rolling from his eyes. Stepping around the group she proceeded toward him. Never breaking contact with the dull emerald eyes, his tears began to build to a torrent. She reached out a slender arm to place it on his chest.
"Hermione," he whispered.
Unable to form the words in her mouth, she simply nodded her head in response.
Slowly Harry stepped forward to the point that they were face-to-face and nose-to-nose. "I know that you are there, I can't see you, but I can feel your warmth." Reaching up with a bloodied arm he swiped away the tears that were remaining in his eyes. "Please come back, Hermione. I need you. I love you." Tears began to reform at the bride of his nose only to run down the smudged cheek.
"I love you too Harry. I have for a long time." Upon hearing these words, his eyes snapped to where the sound of the voice was coming from. "But it is no longer my place to be. I have only wanted to be with you, but now I can be with the one's we lost." Hermione's own eyes began to fill with tears at the thought of missing Harry and the adventures that they have shared over the years. Pausing she looked back at the table to see her body steadily slipping away from reality. "I want you to be happy, Harry." She raised her hand to cup the dirty face in front of her. "I will see you eventually. We will be reunited together in the end." With those last words she leaned in and placed a gentle kiss on the bruised lips, then turned toward the door.
Harry could feel the coldness fill the room once again. Slowly he dropped to the floor leaning against the steel frame of the bed beside him. "She's gone. It is no use anymore." He announced to the healer and nurse in the room. Pulling his knees close to his chest he rested his face between his knees and began to cry. He had lost everyone in his life that he cared for. There was no one left for him in his world.
The healer turned toward the nurse after Harry's announcement of Hermione's passing. He nodded his head in affirmation of the fact before closing Hermione's eyelids to cover the blank eyes. Gathering his courage, he stooped down in front of the upset man in front of him. "Mr. Potter, I want to thank you for what you have done in order to save the wizarding world." The doctor saw the young man trembling on the cold floor. The young man's sobbing filled the space inside the room, which they were in. "Please come with me so that we can take care of you." A distinctive shake of black hair signaled the healer of his desire to not to go with him. "Mr. Potter, we know that she was very special to you, that she meant more to you than everyone else, but you have a life to live…for her." Unmoving and unwilling Harry would not stand. He simply cried till he could cry no more.