A/N: I'm really touched by all the comments, they've been really helpful and it's great to hear what people are thinking. So thanks very much for that. Sorry it's been over a week since I updated, but don't worry, I have big plans for this will continue to the end, although that might be a while off, I mean, we're 5 chapters in and they haven't even finished their third year yet!
"Harry! Harry can you hear me?" shouted a frantic Hermione. Her heart was pounding and her mind was racing, this couldn't be, they couldn't have come all the way back in time for Harry to die now, like this. But Hermione hadn't been through a year of hell for nothing, she knew how to keep calm in a crisis and so with a clear voice and a steady hand she pointed her wand at Harry's head and called out "vulnera sanetur" in order to stem the flow of the slowly growing pool of blood. Then, making sure Harry's airwaves were clear, Hermione cast a quick "anapneo", but still Harry didn't move. There was nothing for it, Hermione would have to take Harry to the hospital wing. She pointed her wand at Harry once more and began to levitate him towards the door, thinking desperately how she needed to get to the hospital quickly if she was to stand any chance in helping Harry survive. Finally, Hermione reached the door and, being careful to mind that she didn't jerk Harry around in mid-air, she opened the door. To Hermione's wonder, but not really surprise, she found herself opening the door to the same corridor of the hospital wing that she had been trying to get to. Later on, Hermione would think of how she should have guessed that the incredible room would have done this, after all, Neville had briefly told them of the wonderful things it had managed to do whilst the trio were hunting horcruxes, it had created a path to Hogsmede, so letting them out by the hospital wing was really to be expected. But of course, momentarily, Hermione was far too preoccupied with helping Harry.
As soon as they entered the ward, Madame Pomfrey flew to their side and placed Harry on the nearest bed, working without delay. As she began moving her wand over his still unconscious form, she turned to Hermione and asked a question that for the first time in her life, the young witch was completely unprepared as to how to answer. "What on earth happened to him?"
Hermione was stunned, she hadn't thought! She couldn't tell Madame Promfrey the truth, it would lead to far too many awkward questions, they might be found out, the war might begin early if Dumbledore discovers the horcruxes now, no, Hermione needed to think quickly and convincingly. "He... He was hit. Harry went back to the Whomping Willow, he needed to go over what had just happened, you know, with Sirius and everything. He was upset and I guess... I guess he didn't see the branch coming towards him." Hermione held her breath, hoping that she would be believed.
Madame Pomfrey tutted and began to mutter as she went back to healing Harry, "silly boy... to be expected of course... just like his father..." She then turned back to Hermione with a stern look "What did you do? Did you try to heal him?"
Hermione thought she'd been in the clear, then remembered that there was no way a third year should know healing spells, much less be performing them on their peers. "I read about it in a book. I didn't know if it would help. I'm so sorry, there was so much blood and I just..." Hermione trailed off, she'd spurted it all out in one breath and hoped that Madame Pomfrey was taking her attitude to merely be the concerned and frightened reactions of a third year witch.
"Go and find the headmaster, bring him here immediately."
Hermione didn't argue, she turned on her heel and spurted from the room, running as quick as she could to find the headmaster and get back to Harry's side. She tore through the castle and arrived at the stone gargoyle guarding Dumbledore's office just as it was opening in order to let Professor McGonagall out.
"Professor," breathed Hermione, still out of breath from her run through the castle "Harry's in hospital, there was an accident, the Whomping Willow, need to get Dumbledore, Madame Pomfrey sent me"
Professor McGonagall's face hardened and she turned around, presumably to head back up the staircase to inform the headmaster. But before she was able to, Professor Dumbledore was stood behind her, looking concerned and fierce. Without a word, he took off in the direction of the hospital wing. Professor McGonagall turned to Hermione, "please go and wait in the common room, I'll come and find you and Mr Weasley as soon as I know how Harry is." With that, she followed Dumbledore in the direction of the hospital wing and left Hermione standing alone, more aware than ever of the body that she was in. She looked like a child and people were going to start treating her like one again.
Harry Potter was currently trying to wake up. His eyelids felt so heavy but he knew there was something that he needed to do, he needed to wake up and get it done... If only he could remember what 'it' was. He slowly opened one eye, everything was blurry and his head was pounding. What was going on? Why had he been asleep, wasn't he sat by the lake with his friends? No, he'd been with Hermione, arguing? He couldn't remember and his headache was making it worse. He was just about to give up and drift back to sleep when he heard a voice, was the voice shaking? Or was it just his headache making him think that? What was the voice saying?
"Harry? Can you hear us? Come on mate"
Huh, it sounded like Ron, what was Ron doing here? Harry fought some more and tried to focus his eyes. He thought that he could see red hair, yes, definitely, it was Ron. Poor Ron, he'd just lost Fred, why was he so concerned about Harry?
"Harry, you're alright now, the Whomping Willow didn't do any lasting damage."
This voice didn't sound like Ron, no, this voice was higher, Hermione, it must have been. Yes, he could see lots of bushy brown hair, it must be her. The Whomping Willow? What was she on about? He'd just been... Then he remembered. The full horror of everything that had happened crashed back down on Harry and he let out a moan.
"Don't try to talk too much Harry, the branch to your head has really knocked you for six. Just try and rest a little."
Hermione sounded worried, but Harry understood, she must have told people he'd been hit by the Whomping Willow, not the truth of the foolish errand to destroy the diadem horcrux. He'd play along with it. He just needed to sleep for a little longer.
A few hours later Harry woke to a darkened hospital wing. His two friends talking in low murmurs and still sat next to his bed. Harry opened his eyes and smiled a little to see them both "hey guys, what happened? I don't remember much, something about a tree?"
Hermione was visibly relieved and nodded enthusiastically, "that's right, the Whomping Willow. I was just telling Ron. You went to see if there were any clues as to where Pettigrew would have gone after that night, but before you could press the knot on the tree, a branch hit the back of your head."
"Seriously Harry, anyone would think you like being the one in hospital at the end of the year, I thought I'd got you beaten this year though." Laughed Ron. "It's not like the tree has missed beating you up, it got you last year!"
Ron grinned at his joke and Harry did too, more out of politeness than anything. Harry could see that Ron was relieved he wasn't hurt and just trying to make him feel better, but if anything, it made him feel worse. Harry didn't like keeping secrets from his friend, especially one this big.
"Yeah mate, I won't go back" replied Harry, but then, with a pointed look to Hermione, he added "I've learnt my lesson. I guess I should have realised that I couldn't take on anything that big and win. Not yet anyway."