***PLEASE READ*** Sadly, I'm not sure what is going to happen to this fanfic. Though I have things planned out in my head, I have lost my inspiration to write it. I have a few other authors try to help me out, but it's hard for them to find the time. I really HATE to see this fanfic die, but I'm not really sure what is to become of it. For now, it's still in progress, just slow going. My sincerest apologies. -_-
One and only disclaimer: I don't own the characters or any part of the Wizarding world. And I don't get paid for my fanfics. They're just fun. ^^
Many thanks to the best Beta ever, HarryPGinnyW4eva, and my amazing idea help, Binka Fudge. With the two of them, writing fanfics has never been so fun!
Long live Fred Weasley!
It was over. The war had finally come to an end. Voldemort had been defeated and the wizarding world was safe once more. They should have been happy. There should have been joy and celebration, but instead the Great Hall at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was filled with great sorrow and weeping. The room was lined with many injured men, woman, teens and too many still bodies; those who had lost their lives in the last battle; to allow any room for joy or relief.
Hermione stood in silent tears among the crowd of redheads that she considered her second family. All heads were bowed, every face stained with tears as they stood over the lifeless body of Fred Weasley. The room was filled with hushed heavy chatter and quiet sobs, Mrs. Weasley letting out the occasional pained cry. They stared at the still, cold face and stiff body of their beloved son, brother, and friend feeling heavy and empty. Hermione had never been extremely close to him, but he was still a great friend, practically a brother, and her grief was equal to that of those around her. She wanted desperately to comfort them all, but could not find a single word to say. Though she knew she was accepted in their group, she still felt a little like an outsider imposing upon their space and time of mourning. She wished that Harry was there with her, she knew he would understand, but he was filled with his own grief and had retreated to his dorm for a time of solitude.
She glanced at the faces around her, their arms around each other, Ginny's head buried against Bill's chest. George... he looked so lost. She stood alone to the side, looking down at her lost friend her tears increased. His face was so pale and lifeless, devoid of the warmth that his smile gave to the world. She was startled and straightened when she saw his chest rise slightly.
"Did- did you see that?" she asked, glancing at the family and quickly back at Fred's solid chest.
"What?" Ron asked quietly, his voice heavy.
"His chest moved! He took a breath!" Hermione said excitedly. The Weasleys looked at her sadly, none of them believing her.
"The mediwizard said that his body might twitch occasionally," Charlie explained quietly.
"No... no... he breathed," said Hermione staring at Fred, willing what she had seen to be true. His finger twitched but Hermione knew that it wasn't as Charlie had said. He breathed. She saw it. She dove to her knees at his side and placed one hand over his heart, the other on his neck as she felt for a pulse. The Weasleys watched her with sadness and pity. The sounds around her disappeared as she concentrated fully on the motionless cold body beneath her hands. Then she felt it. One lone beat. One single heartbeat against her fingers. "It beat! I felt it!" She placed both hands firmly over his heart, just as she had seen muggles do when performing CPR, but her hands did not pump. She held them firmly and forcefully pressing against his ribs willing his heart to beat another beat, willing his body to spring to life. Her eyes closed tightly, blocking out the world around her. There was nothing there anymore, just her and Fred. She felt every single beat of her heart in the palms of her hands, her mind visualised his frozen heart imagining it starting to move and pump steadily.
"Hermione..." Ron said quietly coming to stand at her right side. "Hermione... he's gone..."
Hermione shook her head. He had to be quiet, she had to concentrate. Beat. Beat.
"Hermione... please..." Ron gently hooked his hand under her elbow and she shook it off. She took slow deep breaths, willing herself to concentrate, ever conscious of her own heart beating in her hands. Then she felt it. The heart buried beneath the bone and muscles echoed Hermione's own pulse.
"It's beating..." she sobbed in relief. She took slow deep breaths, holding her hands firmly in place relishing every single thump that echoed against her hands.
"Hermione..." started Charlie.
"No look!" cried George, staring at his twin brother. "His cheeks, they're pink."
Hermione heard nothing. Her entire consciousness was inside of Fred's body, her entire focus was his blood pumping within his heart and flowing through his veins. Her breathing remained slow and steady. She felt several eyes upon her, but shrugged off the thought of them. They could think what they wanted. She needed to help Fred.
"Look, he breathed! He really breathed!" cried Ginny.
"Percy, get a mediwizard! Quick!" Mr. Weasley shouted. Hermione heard the sound of Percy's shoes upon the stone floor. They believed her. They'd help now.
"Help!" Mrs. Weasley cried to the room at large.
Hermione released some of the pressure to allow Fred to breathe easier, but never moved her stance, her hands still over his heart. She felt his breathing become steadier, taking the exact pace as her own.
"Here!" shouted Percy.
A woman knelt on the opposite side of Fred, "Excuse me, hun. You need to let him go so I-"
Hermione shook her head violently.
"I can't check him properly if you don't-"
Hermione shook her head again. The woman needed to stop talking. Hermione couldn't focus.
"Hermione," said Ron. "You have to let her-"
Hermione shook her head again. Why couldn't they understand? "He'll stop."
"No, sweetie," the mediwitch spoke as if to a small child. "I'm here to help."
"Wait," said George again. "I think she's right." All eyes fell on George. "He didn't have a heartbeat - he didn't breathe, not until she touched him."
"George..." Mr. Weasley began to reason.
"No. Look. He breathes at the same time she does. She's breathing for him. Don't make her stop!" George insisted.
The mediwitch placed her fingers to Fred's wrist. "It is beating. But, I need to examine his chest."
Hermione shook her head. Didn't the woman just hear George? "Watch," demanded Hermione. She took a great deep breath and Fred's chest rose high with hers. She held it and stared down at Fred, her eyebrows furrowed in desperation. After several seconds ticked by Hermione let out her large breath, Fred exhaling in time with her.
"That's... that's not possible," said the mediwitch, looking utterly perplexed.
"Don't stop, Hermione!" ordered Ron.
Finally they understood. Hermione returned her full attention to the warming body beneath her fingers. Seconds turned to minutes and minutes into hours. Hermione never moved. She was vaguely aware of the many voices and bodies coming and going and shuffling around her, but paid them no mind. She wasn't sure how, but she felt the exact moment that Fred's broken bones were repaired and felt both her and Fred's energy increase when he was given a potion.
"Again, Hermione..." Mrs. Weasley said softly. This order came every few minutes. Hermione held her breath and Fred with her. He still could not breathe without her assistance. More time passed, though she had no idea how long, but the sun was shining bright through her closed lids. Her eyes were closed, her head resting on her hands atop Fred's chest.
"We have to move him. There's just no way around it. We can't continue to treat him here," one of the mediwizards insisted.
"But you heard her. You see! She can't let go of him!" cried Mrs. Weasley.
"We'll use a portkey. She'll never need to let go. As long as she touches it and keeps her hands on your son, they will both transport safely," the man assured.
"Hermione, love," Mrs. Weasley spoke gently as she knelt at Hermione's side, placing her hands on her shoulders. Hermione sleepily lifted her head to look at Mrs. Weasley. "Hermione, they want to take the two of you to St. Mungo's. You won't have to let go... you can't let go. They'll use a portkey. All they need is your little finger."
"They assure me it is safe. They can't fix him here. We'll meet you there."
Hermione nodded. Fred. Just hold on.
Hermione… a voice echoed back. Hermione looked up quickly, but it was obvious by the look on everyone's face that no one else had heard.
Just hold on, Fred. I've got you.
A mediwitch knelt across from her with quill that had a faint blue glow. "I'm going to put this under you finger. Don't let go of him."
Hermione nodded. She felt the familiar tug behind her navel, but it was accompanied by strange feeling beneath her hands. They had given her the impression that she would need to hold onto Fred, but it felt as if a force almost like magnetism was holding him to her.
They arrived softly in an empty hallway of what was unmistakably a hospital and several witches and wizards surrounded them. "You'll need to stand," they told her. Hermione felt Fred's body begin to levitate and tried to get to her feet, but found that her legs no longer wanted to work. She had been kneeling for hours. A wizard stepped up behind her and lifted her by the armpits, helping move both Fred and Hermione to a private room, her hand never once leaving his heart. Fred was lowered onto a bed, Hermione into a chair by his side. Hermione took a quick look at the room, but exhaustion tugged away at her consciousness as her head lolled from side to side. She knew that people where trying to speak to her, but she could not hear anymore. She slowly rested her head on her hands again and fell into a deep sleep.
Hermione awoke in the dark room to the sound of voices in the hall and slowly removed her head from her hands. She could still feel their hearts beating together, their chests rising and falling in time. Hermione's gaze followed the stream of light that was coming from the partially open door, the voices becoming clear.
"I don't know. We've looked and looked. More than twenty of us have been searching the records for hours. Nothing like this has ever been documented," a woman spoke.
"I think it's just too good to be true. It's been near twenty-four hours since his heart started beating again, but only with her help. I'm really beginning to doubt that he's still there," answered a man.
"What do you mean?" asked the woman.
"I don't know how, but she's forcing him to breathe and his heart to beat. But, it's most likely just magic making his body work mechanically. I think he was lost hours ago. We'll give it a few more hours, but then we're just going to have to let him go. There's no point in continuing if he won't recover," the man said in a sad defeated voice.
No. No. thought Hermione. Fred, you're there I know it. And, I think you can hear me. I can feel you and I can feel that you're getting stronger. They think you're gone. You have to show them, Fred. You have to show them that you're still here. Breathe, Fred. I know you can. Just breathe.
Hermione held her breath and stared down at Fred. He had stopped breathing, too.
Hermione held her breath once more staring at him angrily. And then he did it. He breathed.
That's it, Fred. Don't stop.
"He's breathing!" Hermione shouted. Something to Hermione's left moved suddenly. It was only then that she realized that Mrs. Weasley was in the room. By the look of it, Hermione had just wakened her. "He's breathing on his own."
Mrs. Weasley was overjoyed and terrified, completely helpless and unsure what to do. "He's breathing!" she shouted, throwing the door wide open, spilling light through the room. Hermione turned her eyes to the shadows. The male healer that Hermione had heard talking raced to his side.
"Remove your hands, please."
Hermione took away just one of her hands, she still felt his heart beating, but his energy decreased. "I can't. He can breathe, but his heart isn't ready to go on its own," the man looked at her skeptically. "I know it sounds weird and I can't tell you how I know, but I do. I can feel him getting stronger, but he's not strong enough yet."
"But, he can breathe?" asked Mrs. Weasley hopefully.
"Yes." Hermione took a deep breath and held it, but Fred's breathing remained constant. Hermione slowly exhaled and turned to Mrs. Weasley whose eyes began to tear.
"It is a good sign, but I still do not want you to get your hopes up. This could still be the girl helping him."
Hermione bit her tongue and glared at the man. She knew he was sincere, but she knew better than him. When the healer left, Hermione turned to Mrs. Weasley. "Mrs. Weasley."
"Molly, dear," Molly corrected.
"Molly… I know it sounds crazy, and I don't know how I know, but he's here. It isn't just me. The healer is wrong. I can feel him. He's getting stronger."
"We believe you, love, all of us," assured Molly, placing an encouraging hand gently on Hermione's shoulder.
"How is everyone?"
"Everyone is holding up the best they can. They've all been in here, a few at a time, while you were sleeping," she informed.
"Oh, I'm sorry. I was-"
"No, Hermione. I can't thank you enough. I don't know how you… He's my son," tears welled in her as she smiled at Hermione. Without warning they sprang from her eyes and rolled down her soft plump cheeks. "You've given me my son. And I know this is difficult for you, and I hate to ask… but please don't give up on him," she pleaded.
"Never. He's here and so long as he needs me, so am I."
"Thank you…" Mrs. Weasley stroked Hermione's hair and stared down into her face with an expression that could never truly be explained, a look of reverence, love, pity, and the strongest of gratitude. "Are you doing alright? Are you hungry?"
"Maybe a little…" Hermione sat up straight and arched her back. She was sore. For nearly twenty-four hours she had sat hunched over, her arms in front of her and she ached. Mrs. Weasley did not miss her obvious discomfort.
"I'll go get you a potion to soothe your muscles. Perhaps an invigorating draught also? Or would you like to sleep?" Molly offered.
"I'm still very tired. So maybe after a bite I might rest a little more..."
"Of course, love," Mrs. Weasley smiled one last time and left the room.
It was an awkward meal, large as usual, the only kind Mrs. Weasley knew how to prepare, but the strangeness was not in the food itself. Hermione could not let go of Fred. Her left hand rested on his chest while she ate with her right. Though her stomach was angry with hunger, Hermione felt too exhausted to continue her meal. After only a few bites, she took the dreamless sleep draught Mrs. Weasley had brought her and rested her head again on Fred's chest.
Hermione opened her eyes and blinked into the overwhelming light. Slowly her eyes adjusted and she looked around at her surroundings, or the curious lack thereof. There was nothing. She stood alone on an empty plane, as if standing on a plain white canvas. There was nothing below her, nothing above, and only white emptiness on all sides.
"Hermione... it is you..." said a familiar voice.
Hermione whipped around quickly and gasped as she looked up into the face of Fred Weasley. He stood before her looking sad and frightened, a look that she had never before seen on his face, but she never felt so happy to see anyone before. "Fred...?"
He gave her a weak, mirthless smile and took a step forward. "It is you," he repeated.
"Where- where are we?"
"I've been trying to figure that out for ages."
"I must be dreaming," Hermione decided.
"You can't be. I was here before you."
" I took that dreamless sleep draught..."
"Maybe I'm the one that's dreaming," he said with a blank yet pensive look.
"I don't think so... I think... wait. What's that sound?" Hermione strained to hear a soft echoing rumble, as if someone might be talking far off.
"It's 'them,'" said Fred looking above him as though he were searching for the source, but there was nothing, just white void.
"I guess. It's hard to understand them, but sometimes I hear them. I heard Mum... and you... and others..." Fred continued to stare up, a pained, frightened look on his face. "They said that I'm dead..." finally he looked back at Hermione. "Am I?"
"No, Fred. You're not." Hermione said softly. "But you're hurt badly. Do you remember the battle?"
Fred stared off again, his face expressionless. "Hogwarts..."
"Yes, Fred. The battle is over. The war is over. But you were hurt. You're really struggling." She stared at him; her heartache seeming to be pressing in from the world around her rather then the inside of her. But for his dazed despondency, he looked exactly as she remembered him. He was not cold or pale, nor was ginger hair matted with blood. She was unsure whether she should feel joy or sorrow.
"But if I'm not dead, where am I?" he asked anxiously.
"I-I think we're in your mind..."
"You mean I'm trapped in my own head? But... then how are you here?"
"I-I don't know."
"I could hear you, and not like 'them'. I could hear you talking to me. I can feel you, Hermione. Why can I feel you?" He asked in confused panic.
"We're... we're somehow connected. You can't survive on your own yet, so... so I'm with you," she felt as confused about it as he did. None of it made sense. Ever since he took his first breath she had felt different, like she lost herself somewhere and had no other desire but to help Fred.
"I'm scared, Hermione," he said, tears beginning to form in his eyes. One look at him brought tears to Hermione as well. Fred Weasley was brave and smiling in the most frightening of times, but this wasn't time... this wasn't even a place. It was scary in its own 'nothingness' way. "Am I dying?"
"No," Hermione said firmly. She didn't know how she knew, but it was a certainty. "You're getting stronger every hour. I'll see you through. You won't die."
"Don't leave me, Hermione. I can't stay here alone. I'm trapped." Tears finally broke free and trailed down his freckled cheeks.
"I won't leave Fred. I-I can't stay here. But you said you can feel me and hear me. You'll know I'm there."
"No! Wait! Don't leave me here!" Fred cried desperately.
Hermione looked down at her body and saw it slowly fading. "I'm still here, Fred."
"Hermione! Hermione! Hermione..."
"...Hermione." Hermione's head snapped up and she stared wide eyed into the faces of two startled boys.
"Wh-what?" Hermione asked softly, still falling away from the brightness in her mind, her eyes adjusted to the darkness of the room, lit only by the light coming through the door.
"Nothing," said Ron quietly. "We were just talking about you."
"We didn't mean to wake you," said George. He wore the same expression that she had seen on Fred and it made her want to cry again.
"If you want, we'll leave so you can get some more sleep," offered Ron.
"No, please stay."
"How's he doing?" George asked apprehensively.
"Mum says he's breathing on his own?"
"Yes. He's still too weak for me to leave..." she paused, realizing how silly she must sound. "But he's getting stronger... he's just scared," she added under her breath.
"What?" asked Ron. Hermione was relieved that he hadn't heard the last part. She was frightening people enough just by keeping him alive. She wasn't about to admit that she could hear and feel his energy, strength, and thoughts.
"He's getting stronger," she repeated. "Don't look at me like that, George. I don't know what's happening. I don't know how I know these things I just-" Tears were welling in her eyes again.
"No, Hermione. That's not what I was thinking. I don't care how you're doing it. You're saving my brother." George said quickly. "I was only thinking... You'll never understand what this means to us. We'll never be able to repay you for this... but I promise you I will spend the rest of my life trying."
"I don't want payment," her tears slid silently down her cheeks. "I just want him to be okay."
"Is...Is he going to die?" asked Ron tentatively, his own eyes glistening.
Hermione shook her head. "No. He's fighting. He's going to make it. I can feel it." Determined to believe it, she took her hand and slowly began dragging away from his heart and toward his shoulder. She still felt his pulse, but it was getting weaker.
C'mon, Fred. You can do it. I'm not leaving.
Hermione. Just don't let go...
His pulse returned to its steady strength. Her hand continued a path down his arm and her fingers wove into his. Here she could still feel their hearts beating through their palms.
That's it, Fred. I'm not leaving.
Hermione smiled up at Ron and George, feeling so proud of Fred but unable to share it with anyone.
"I only wish I knew if he could hear me," said George.
"Try," Hermione suggested gently.
George slowly walked up the opposite side of the bed and took Fred's hand. "Fred..." he said sheepishly.
Fred. Listen. Can you hear 'them'?
"Fred, it's George. I don't know if you can hear me, but you need to keep fighting."
Hermione smiled to herself at Fred's response.
"I can't lose you again, Fred. I- the world isn't whole without you..."
George jumped back in surprise. Hermione stared up into his face. Had he heard? "He... he squeezed my hand..." George's face screwed up and tears from nowhere poured rivers down his face, dripping freely from his chin. "Fred... You're going to be okay," he said confidently. His lips quivering he placed a small kiss on the top of his twin's hand.