Fred stood at the foot of what had once been his and his girlfriends bed. Now just hers. He watched as she rolled toward him in her sleep, and he could see the tears coursing down her freckled cheeks. Large fat tears slid down to dampen her pillow and curly hair as she cried. The sight made Fred's heart ache because there was nothing he could do to help her. He had died in a burst of light and sound, and that's why Hermione cried. He stepped around to the side of bed and sat beside her on the edge. Hermione woke with a broken sob as she woke herself up with the force of her tears. She sat up in the large half empty bed and stared into the black of the room, wiping her tears away. Fred leaned forward and touched his non-corporeal forehead to hers. He whispered, knowing she couldn't hear him, "It's me Mione, I haven't left you. I'm well, I'm fine, I'm here."
Hermione shuffled listlessly down the hall to the kitchen , Fred gliding silently behind her. She turned the kettle on and went to get her cup. Her fingers grazed the handle of Fred's multicolored one as she reached for her plain white one. She bit back a soft cry as she remembered every morning, Fred holding her cup just out of reach while tauntingly drinking out of his wild one at the same time. "Mione, love ,I simply cannot let you drink out of such a plain cup!" and then charming it to change colors every time she touched it. She took down Fred's instead. She poured her tea and went to sit at the table, thinking of the many times her hands had reached out to him. From the first time shaking his hand, to demanding he hand over the canary creams he was testing on first years, to raising her hand to accept his engagement ring. To the last time she saw him, laying on the cold Hogwarts floor, when she stretched a hand out in disbelief.
Fred followed along behind her as she went from shop to shop in Diagon alley. He could see she was getting tired, packing so many bags. In her grief forgetting that she could just shrink them. Fred longed to take them from her, to be her "pack mule" and make jokes as he pretended to stagger under the weight. When had Hermione's hair gotten so dull? Her eyes so flat? As a ghost, Fred really had no comprehension of time. He felt he had only been dead a few hours, days at most.
Hermione gently placed the box of canary creams and the flowers in front of the headstone. She renewed the weather protection charms and sat down, her back to it. "Why did you have to go with Percy, Fred? Why didn't you stay with George? You would have been safe with him, no harm ever came to you when you were together." She leaned her head back against the grey stone. As Fred watched her, he noticed it was starting to snow lightly. Why was it snowing? Hadn't he died in the spring? He wanted to reassure her, that he was not lying there. Finally Hermione stood and apparated home, Fred being sucked along with her. She walked toward the house and fumbled in her pockets for the key. Fred reached out and gently laid his hand on her shoulder. Had her bones always been so sharp under his hand? "It's me Mione, I'm here for you." She gave a soft sigh and walked through the door.
Hermione absent mindedly kicked her shoes off and shrugged out of her coat, leaving it draped on the hallway bench. She headed for the living room and sank into Fred's monstrosity of a chair and pulled her knees up to her chest. Fred sat on the arm beside her, and covered her hand with his insubstantial one. Had she always been so pale? He tried to let her know he was there, but she couldn't see him. He didn't know how it was possible for him, to be so near her everyday. To say to her with certainty, " I never went away Hermione." She sat there very quietly, then softly smiled, and he knew she had finally felt him. In the stillness of the evening, she finally knew he was close to her. Hermione sank a little deeper into the chair and drifted off to sleep.
Hermione, Mione-love, open your eyes. its time to go now." Hermione heard the laughing voice she had longed to hear for so long and opened her eyes to see a softly smiling Fred. "Fred? This, this has to be a dream. Your not here. You died and left me." Hermione made to turn her head away, but Fred's long, fine fingers gently caught her chin. She gasped, he was touching her! She could feel the roughed pads of his fingers!
"I never left you Mione, I was always right beside you, you just couldn't see me anymore." He gently reached down and took her small hands in his, and lifted her up. She turned and saw a much diminished form of herself, still laying in the chair. Fred gently turned her away as she caught the sound of other voices she hadn't heard in years and some she had never heard. She gasped as she saw her parents, her mother holding Crookshanks. Remus and pink haired Tonks, silver eyed and laughing Sirius, and a man and woman that could only be Harry's mum and dad. Lily stepped forward and briefly hugged her before stepping back. and slowly fading "Thank you for watching after my son for so long, when I no longer could." Fred turned back to Hermione and smiled, "You were patient and lived your journey out, now come home with me. They have so much to show us, so many things for us to see." Hermione reached out her hand and took Fred's before turning so they stood side by side as they faded away.
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