A/N: Yep. A deus ex machina to get our lovely couple together. But will it work? More at the end.
Chapter Eight: Deus Ex Machina
Working with a pensieve was harder work than Hermione expected. The first few memories she had fully extracted seemed easy enough but as she pulled at more of her mind, it becoming far more taxing.
She knew she had the opportunity to walk around in those memories but nothing would have disgusted her more. She had lived through those awful times not only once, but a second time when Harry's spell had spectacularly backfired.
The more she thought about it, the more she was convinced she had suffered spell-damage to her head during the Final Battle. Perhaps Bellatrix Lestrange had tortured the sanity right out of her because if she had been in the right state of mind, there would have been no way she would have agreed to Harry's stupid suggestion. She would have walked right up to Ron, told him the truth and dealt with it then and there.
She shook her head in self-contempt as she remembered the finality of asking Harry to just erase her memories altogether of the whole disgusting affair. He was good, the Boy Who Lived, but she should never have trusted him to carry out her own stupid conditions.
She had been sitting at her desk, revelling in the blissful happiness of returning home to Ron after her draining day at work. As she reached for her half-full teacup, a vision of Harry entered her mind and she had been avoiding it ever since.
She had only two more memories to go and then this part of her plan would be complete. She was successfully honouring Ron's request for space, although she was more than selfishly hoping he would return home soon. Many parts of Hermione Granger were selfish and she struggled to come to terms with the person she had become.
Sleeping with Harry had been a selfish attempt to feel alive in the face of what she was sure was imminent death and lying to Ron and cowardly discarding her unpleasant memories had been selfish too. So no matter how much she wanted to crowd Ron and beg him not to leave her again, she was determined to be completely unselfish and let him be in control.
She was unequivocally in his hands and if he allowed her, she would prove to Ron Weasley that he was her entire universe, for the rest of their lives.
So with a renewed focus, she reached back into the darkest depths of her mind to extract, pull, coax and demand those memories she was so desperate to forget, to breathe into the deep waters of the pensieve and save her relationship with the man she loved.
"Of course the bloody thing would hatch when you're here," Charlie moaned, motioning for Ron to deposit the small and still uncleaned baby dragon into his oven-mitt clad hands. Ron was reminded of Hagrid yet again as the little blighter squeaked as Charlie's hands cradled it.
Ron stared as Charlie shook his head and motioned for him to follow. Ron did as he was told and followed his brother into the small kitchen. "Fill up the sink and put about two cups of salt into it."
Ron dutifully filled up the basin and watched with wide eyes as Charlie patted the baby dragon down. It yelped in protest and Ron winced, hoping the tiny thing wouldn't sneeze the wrong way and burn Charlie's house down.
Luckily, it didn't. With careful hands, Charlie placed it into the saltwater. A smile spread across Charlie's face as he removed his now sopping wet oven mitts. "There you go, nice and warm for you." The baby dragon made a squeaking noise in response and settled into the warm water.
Charlie smacked Ron's back, leaving a wet patch Ron really would have rather gone without. "Look at you! About five minutes later, and you would have been a mummy!"
"Sod off," Ron snapped, clearly still transfixed by the dragon. "It's got a bloody mother and I'm not her...him."
"Reckon I could use a smoke after all that eh? She'll be right in there for a bit," Charlier reasoned and motioned for Ron to follow. Part of Ron was jealous of the absolute freedom Charlie had out here. He could do whatever he wanted out here- smoke, drink and even shag without someone telling him what he could and couldn't do.
Even without living at the Burrow, he was under the ever watchful eye of his mum. Not to mention being friends with Hermione for all those years...she'd have his arse for even thinking about pinching a smoke from Charlie.
But as it was, Hermione Granger was not here and neither was his mum. Ron extended his hand. "Oi, hand one over." If Charlie was shocked, he didn't show it- he only shrugged.
"You're the boss mate."
Some boss he was. He had run away from work where he was a boss to some of the new recruit. He had been told to sod off by his actual boss and Harry effing Potter was likely to be the next boss. Hermione had called all the shots, even before her great fuck up so having even an lit cigarette in his mouth was the ultimate action of a man who should be his own boss.
Charlie frowned. "Have you ever had one before?"
Ron ignored his brother and attempted to take a drag, before his lungs exploded and he was coughing everywhere like a bloody pansy. Charlie snatched the offending object from his mouth and shook his head. "You're an idiot."
Ron had nothing left to say as he watched Charlie finish his cigarette quietly, until the sound of Charlie's Floo activating broke the two brothers from their silence. Ron frowned. "If it's Mum, I'm going to tell her to shove off," Ron vowed as Charlie put out his cigarette.
"You don't have the stones for that, little brother!" Charlie exclaimed as he ushered Ron inside, taking a peek at the still happily bathing dragon. "I don't even have the stones for that," he added quietly, probably hoping it wasn't Molly Weasley at the end of an international Floo call.
Ron frowned when George's face appeared in Charlie's old, Romanian fireplace. "George? Blimey, what time is it over there?" Charlie asked, peering at the clock, set to Romanian time above his fireplace.
"Early," George supplied before turning his head to face Ron. "Ron, err-"
He looked at George curiously. "Yeah?" His brother took a long moment and it had been a while since Ron had heard George sound so serious. "George, where are you?"
"I'm at the shop but I'm about to head out to St Mungo's. You'd better organise some portkeys home. Hermione was just admitted. She's fine, as far as we can tell but still-"
Ron felt as if all the air had been sucked out of the room and the blood rushed from his face. An invisible hand reached into his chest and squeezed his heart. He barely registered Charlie talking to George and tried to focus on the feelings inside. What had happened to Hermione?
"We'll leave now," Charlie told George. "Just...hold down the fort yeah? That's assuming..?" Charlie looked at Ron.
"Don't fucking finish that sentence," Ron snapped as he grabbed his wallet and keys and shoved them into his pockets. "We're going. And now."
As Ron and Charlie hurtled through the air from their last stop, Ron felt sick. He was still angry, of course, but none of that seemed to register with him at the moment. He landed with a thud in front of George's shop. Scrambling to his feet, he took off at a hurried pace, not bothering to wait for Charlie. He paced through the Leaky Cauldron, onto the busy Muggle streets. Ron vaguely heard Charlie trying to keep up with him as they attempted to weave through the Muggle pedestrians. Finally, Ron came face to face with Purge and Dowse and the faceless dummy. Before Ron could open his mouth to talk to the gatekeeper, it had raised its hand, pointing towards the window. Ron ran straight through.
Ron nearly bowled over the Welcome Witch as he ran through the entrance to St. Mungo's. Charlie wasn't too far behind him. Both wired and exhausted from the journey, Ron couldn't stop the adrenaline from pumping through him. George had said she was okay but other than that, he didn't know anything. Sure, he wanted and needed his space from Hermione but that didn't mean he wanted to see her lying in a bloody hospital bed, with all this shit going on. He was uneasy about everything, and especially seeing her again in these circumstances. He knew she was alright, otherwise George would have fronted up to Romania, after all.
"Now young man, what seems to..."
"Hermione Granger," he said hurriedly, not even waiting for her to finish.
"Now you listen here..."
"Hermione Granger!" he said again, feeling his face turn red. Charlie shook his head at the Welcome Witch.
"Artefact Accidents," she replied crisply, pointing down the hall. Ron took off with Charlie hot on his heels. Ron managed to weave through the throng of wizards and Healers and barely dodged a Mediwitch holding three vials of purple potion.
"Honestly," she muttered as Charlie rushed past her.
Finally, towards the end of the hall, Ron caught sight of Weasley red hair.
"George!" he called out, coming to a halt in front of the private room. He barely registered Ginny and his dad's presence. "What the hell happened?"
George put his hands on Ron's shoulders. "She's fine Ronniekins, calm down before they stick you in with Lockhart."
Ron shook George's arms off. "You already said that. But apart from a quick message to nearly give a bloke a heart attack, I don't know anything else! Is she hurt?"
George slung his arm around Ron and gently guided him to sit on the uncomfortable chairs. Ginny, still in her Harpies clothes, sat next to him and sighed.
"Leave it Gin," Charlie advised.
"What the hell are you doing here anyway?" Ron grumbled. "Don't you have anything better to do?"
"Shove it, Ron," Ginny replied sincerely. "George owled me and I just wanted to pop in and say hello. Y'know, see if she's doing okay. People do that when someone's in hospital. Even if they're fine."
"Just fill the poor bloke in," Charlie suggested as he sat next to Ginny.
"Well it looks like the brightest witch of our age had a bit of a tiff with the old pensieve," George started dramatically. "The pensieve won."
This caused Ron's ears to go red. "A pensieve? What the fuck...er, hell was she doing with a pensieve?" he wondered aloud.
"Ron," Ginny started quietly, avoiding George and Charlie's curious faces.
"Besides we don't even own..."
A sickening thought struck him. "Whose pensieve was it?" he demanded.
"It was probably Harry's," George said helpfully, looking very confused and then rather guilty when Ron shot him a murderous glance.
"Harry effing Potter's pensieve?" Ron roared. "I'll kill him," he seethed, balling his fists as his ears turned bright red.
"Ah, Mr Weasley," a voice interrupted. Ron looked up to see a grey-haired lime-clad wizard with a clipboard in his hands. "I'm Healer Loudfoot."
Ron stood, briefly wondering why he hadn't thought to steal some of Charlie's clothes to change into because he felt positively disgusting after the long trip here. After everything, he was still worried how Hermione would react seeing him in less-than-desirable clothes. "How is she?" he asked, eyeballing the closed door to her private room. "Can we go in?"
"Miss Granger is fine," the Healer announced happily. "She had quite a tumble with the pensieve but it looks like she'll recover quite well, considering."
"What exactly happened?" asked Ginny as she stood next to Ron.
The Healer looked down at the clipboard. "It looks like she was trying to remove a memory when she somehow lost control and slipped, hitting her head quite hard on the object. There was a bit of blood but she responded quite well to the potions and she's awake and talking- rather loudly if I might add,, so we're sure there's no sign of brain damage."
Ron breathed a sigh of relief.
"Although it was a good thing Mr Potter found her when he did. We might've been having a different conversation altogether if he hadn't popped over. Wonderful wizard, that Potter," he beamed, extending his hand again.
Ron ignored it.
"Harry found her?" he asked quizzically. The Healer nodded enthusiastically. "Oh yes, he's in there with her right now, in fact!"
Ron remained silent. "Fucking brilliant," Ron breathed. "Err, sorry," he added. "Thanks."
"Not any trouble at all. You can head on in now, son. She's...not exactly thrilled to be staying overnight and she's been giving the Mediwitches a bit of a hard time, I'm afraid. She's convinced she's fine and she ought to go home but I would advise against it at this stage."
He fought to urge to think about Hermione screaming and throwing things at the hospital staff and gave himself a moment to just think. George had told him Hermione was okay when he Flooed Romania. Hermione was fine and he had still raced across the world to be with her. But where did that leave them?
He looked back to his siblings and Ginny averted her eyes as the Healer moved to the next corridor. Ginny looked nervous as her eyes met Ron's. "Harry's here," she said weakly.
"The Chosen One! Merlin's beard, reckon I can get an autograph? Fuck off, Ginny!" Ron snapped as she flipped him the bird.
He barely managed to contain his anger, the shock from being here in the hospital, thinking about how to approach the situation, overwhelming any other warring emotions inside of him. He was an Auror for Merlin's sake and he had nearly beaten the shit out of Harry last time he had seen him. He wasn't afraid of what was behind the door—he was more worried about how his murderous rage was going be contained with Harry in the same room as him.
"Better go in," Charlie said kindly, giving Ron a friendly push.
"Over and done with," Ginny suggested.
"Nobody'll hear him scream," George added, earning an elbow in the gut from Ginny.
"Thanks Charlie. The rest of you, piss off," Ron huffed and opened the door.
A/N 2: Many apologies for the lack of updates. I have a busy life at times and I am procrastinating at the RL stuff to work on the fandom stuff. I'm trying to work out a balance for Ron's feelings and part of this chapter was new and part was a re-write. I opted to make Hermione fine from the outset to prompt Ron. If she's okay, does this mean he should go back to Romania? If she really was seriously hurt, does it make it okay to just forgive her? Is Harry going to get the shit beaten out of him again? I guess we'll find out. About 2 more chapters to go and this story will be done. If you want to follow/find/talk to me, you can reach me at:
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