A/N: I don't own Harry Potter, but we all know that. A huge thanks to everyone who has been following the story and leaving me feedback. I don't know where I'd be without you all! If anyone is interested in betaing this story, please let me know! I'd appreciate the help! Without further ado, please enjoy!

Chapter 34

The next morning found Hermione, Charlie, and Ginny in the Headmaster's office. They had each taken turns explaining what had happened last night to the aurors there.

The head auror, Auror Robards, let out a deep sigh. "This doesn't sound good."

Dumbledore nodded. "I agree completely."

Robards sent Dawlish a look. "I want you to go to Azkaban and tell them to strengthen their charms and protections. We can't have Bellatrix escaping."

Dawlish nodded. "I'll go right now." He disappeared through the fireplace.

Robards turned to Hermione. "It goes without saying that if she does escape, Bellatrix will come after you. Because of that, I don't want you roaming the halls alone."

Hermione nodded, too frightened to speak. This was an absolute nightmare.

"I'll make sure someone's with her often," Ginny said, squeezing her best friend's hand.

Robards nodded. "I'm going to go. I'll keep you posted on what we find out." Robards then disappeared through the Floo as well.

Hermione let out a sigh. "This is a disaster."

Charlie rubbed her back affectionately. "It'll be okay."

She let out a sob. Looking up, she glanced at the Headmaster. "Do you know what's happened?"

Dumbledore sighed. "I have a hypothesis, if you'd like to hear it."

Hermione nodded.

"Well, I believe that when Bellatrix cursed you, carving that word into your arm, she magically linked you. Whether she was aware of it at the time or not, I'm unsure, but she definitely knows now. Because of this bond, she's able to communicate with you mentally."

"Like the bond Harry had with Voldemort?" She asked.

Dumbledore nodded. "I believe a similar thing has happened, the two of you now being bonded. As of right now, I'm unsure of how to break the bond, but I've been researching it. I'm hoping to come up with a solution soon."

Hermione nodded. "Thank you Headmaster."

"If I may offer you a small piece of advice Miss Granger?"

Hermione nodded.

"Talk to Harry. I know he's been meaning to apologize for his behavior. And he knows what's it is like to have someone in your mind like that. Harry wasn't good at Occlumency, but he did close his mind off a bit."

Hermione remained quiet for a minute. "You think I should tell him what's going on?"

Dumbledore nodded. "I do. However, the choice is solely yours Miss Granger. Just think of it."

Hermione nodded. She wouldn't think about that until later. "Thank you Headmaster," Hermione said, taking a stand. She exited the room, Charlie and Ginny following behind her.

Ginny huffed, crossing her arms. "He wants you to speak to Harry! After everything that's happened? HA."

Hermione bit her lip. "I don't know, maybe I should talk to him…"

Ginny stopped walking, turning to face her best friend. "Are you serious?" Ginny's face was one of pure shock.

Hermione bit her lip even harder, shrugging. "I'm not sure. Oh, I don't know."

Ginny huffed. "You can't talk to him! He was a jerk! He picked Ron over you! Why would he be worth it?"

Hermione shrugged. "I don't know. I guess a small part of me misses him. I mean, he was my best friend for years. I just, I don't know, okay Ginny? I don't know."

Ginny huffed. "Regardless of what you do, I won't ever be speaking to him again. He's a prick, and he doesn't deserve our forgiveness, yours especially."

Hermione remained quiet. Ginny was right in a way. Harry had done so much wrong. But was it fair for her to write him off for the rest of their lives? Everyone deserved a second chance, didn't they? Right now, she wasn't so sure. Her mind was a mix of emotions that she couldn't interpret.

Charlie held Hermione's hand. "I think it's Hermione's choice Ginny. If she wants to make up with Harry, then she should."

Ginny eyed her brother. "You'd be okay with that?"

Charlie nodded. "Even if she wanted to be friends with Ron again, I'd be okay."

"How could you possibly be okay?!" Ginny exclaimed. She was frustrated neither of them were really understanding what was going on. How could they think of forgiving those traitors?

Charlie just squeezed Hermione's hand. "Hermione's a smart girl, and I'd trust her judgement. If she wants to be friends with them, then it's all right. I just want her to be happy."

She offered Charlie a smile. "Thank you."

He leaned forward, giving her a quick kiss.

Ginny scrunched her face up in disgust. "Okay then, I'll leave you two to snog." She disappeared down the hallway.

Hermione watched Ginny storm off. "I didn't mean to make her upset," she said with a frown.

"You didn't," Charlie said assuring her. "Ginny's just hot-headed, especially when it comes to her emotions. She just doesn't want you to get hurt again. The boys had broken her trust, and that isn't something she takes lightly."

"Do you think I'm taking it too lightly?"

Charlie shook his head. "Like I said, if you feel ready to forgive them, then you should. They were your best friends Hermione, it's natural for you to miss them and want to set things right. No one would judge you badly for doing that."

She bit on her lip. "I'm just so unsure."

He kissed her once more. "Hermione, no one's pressuring you to be best friends again. Maybe just talking to Harry would help put things in perspective."

"Yeah, you're right." Hermione wrapped her arms around his waist. Standing on her tip toes, she gave him a kiss. "You always give the best advice Charlie Weasley."

He smiled. "I'm glad you think so." He gave her another kiss.

Hermione grinned. "I think I'm going to go talk to Harry."

Charlie nodded. "He's down at the Quidditch pitch."

Hermione raised her eyebrows. "How did you know?"

He shrugged, smiling. "I saw him walk down there with his broom."

Hermione nodded. "Thanks Charlie. I'll see you later, okay?" Leaning up, she kissed him quickly.

Hermione then made her way towards the Quidditch pitch so she could hopefully talk to Harry.