It had been months. Fred had been laying in the hospital bed for 7 months, 24 days, 15 hours, 48 minutes, and 34, 35, 36…seconds. George had not left his brothers side for more than three hours since they brought him in. He had his own cot to sleep on, his best friend to listen to him ramble AND not talk back for once, and a steady flow of people to keep him from going completely insane. The Healers kept saying that he may never wake up or he may wake up in the next ten minutes and that was why even now, he had to be forced from the room even if for just a short time. As he leaned against the bed talking endlessly about nothing and how things had been going since the end of the war, he was surprised to hear the door open.
"Hey George, and hello to you too Fred." Hermione smiled as she came in and sat on the other side of the bed. "How are you both? What did the Healers say?"
George stopped rambling to think and smiled the weak smile everyone had grown used to since Fred came in. "I'm good 'Mione, and the Healers say nothing has changed since the last time. How is your research going? Did you figure out what it was that Rookwood shot him with to cause this? I know you said that the wall was probably to blame for most of it but Freddie wouldn't just keep 'sleeping' if a wall fell on him, he'd fight like hell to get back. To me the only other thought is that it was the spell." He finished as he looked at her hopefully.
"Well I did find something I want to try, and I have been practicing to get it right, but I want to talk to his Healers and your mum and dad first." She finished with a smile. "You know I won't promise it will even work but it's a step in the right direction if nothing else."
"Well get to it woman while I get the prat ready for his moment." George said jumping up from his spot to prepare his brother for the newest attempt to wake Fred up as Hermione walked back out the door in search of the group that was never far away anymore.
As George placed the last of the finishing touches on his preparations, the door opened allowing more people than he had seen together in this room since the last attempt to wake Fred from his never-ending slumber.
"Okay, please stay back as I don't know what affect this might have on him either way." Hermione turned toward the bed as everyone else stepped against the far wall to give her room. "Revertetur dilectus meus mihi" Hermione said with a flourish of her wand silently praying that something would come of the spell she had created specifically for Fred's situation.
The whole room: family, friends, and Healers all held their breath waiting for something to happen. After almost five minutes with what looked like no changes, the group, Hermione especially deflated ready to go back to their waiting. The healers, just as a formality, did their full body scans to detect changes as everyone began filing out of the room. George was halfway back to his seat when one of the Healers let out a gasp. The room went so silent so fast it was like a vacuum had sucked breath and sound from it as they all looked at Healer Karin. "His brain function is back to normal, according to the scans he is just sleeping." She finished as every jaw dropped in shock.
George walked over to the bed and laid his hand against Fred's chest expecting the faint movement and barely noticeable heartbeat he had come to expect from his coma-prone brother. When he felt Fred's strong heartbeat against his hand as his breathing stayed even and normal he ripped his hand back in shock almost falling backward in surprise. "She's right, his breathing is normal again and I can FEEL his heartbeat for the first time in months." He looked up in excitement as his family crowded around the bed to stare at the sick young man who was finally getting better. George pulled Hermione against his side and hugged her as tightly as he could whispering his thanks through tear soaked lips as he released her to the rest of the family.
With a mischievous look towards everyone else in the room, he pulled his hands back and clapped as hard as he could right in Fred's face. "Oi! Lazy bones! It's about time for you to get your sorry bum out of this bed!" George laughed as his brother not only moved, but jumped awake and looked around in wide-eyed fear until his eyes met his twins.
"Bloody Hell George! Are you trying to kill me?!" Fred laughed until he noticed where he was and all the people gathered around him. "What did we do now? How did I get here?" Fred finished just as his memory slammed into him full force. "What happened? How'd I get here? Where's Harry? Where's old Moldyshorts? I need to talk to Percy, he's on our side!" Fred finished without a breath as he tried to process everything at once.
"Calm down oh twin-oh-mine and let the healers do what they do and then I'll sit here all night and tell you what happened. " George smiled as he thought about the fact that his brother was alive and well in front of him, and his family was finally whole again.
"First of all Gred, we must thank the wonderful, amazing, beautiful..."
"Settle down and get to the point George" Hermione interrupted with a smile and a slight blush.
"...and relentless Miss Granger." He smirked as he finished, seeing his brother's confusion. "She has been working almost non-stop for the 7 months, 24 days, 16 hours, 26 minutes, and 13 seconds that you have been out for."
"I've been WHAT now?" Fred asked in shock wondering if his brother was pranking him. "I've been out almost EIGHT MONTHS and THIS is how you tell me?! Oh-ho brother dear, I don't believe you for a second." He finished beginning to laugh.
"It's the truth Fred,"Hermione cut in before anything bad happened. "You were out for that long and while I am usually the best at keeping track, George had a lot more incentive in this case. Plus I was focusing on more important things" She finished with a sniff before moving on to explain quickly. "You were hit by a curse from Rookwood, but it hit the wall first dropping it on you just after. You have been in a coma since then and George has not left your side without being almost carried from the room to eat and take care of himself before he was rushing back here faster than anyone could catch him." Hermione smiled at George letting him know he could continue.
"Well I wasn't going to leave him here to wake up alone was I?" George looked at hermione knowing she would never tell him what she did. "Our Hermione is the reason we got you back. She has spent every free moment she's had since your diagnosis researching what hit you, how we could fix it or what she could do to get around it to bring you back." George looked at Fred with barely concealed sadness in his eyes. "The Healers didn't know if you would wake up at all but 'Mione wouldn't give up. And after more attempts than I want to remember, she finally found one that worked." George stopped, looking down to hide the tears that almost made their way down his face. He looked up when he was good. "I don't know what she did or how she did it but I will be forever grateful that she brought you back Freddie. I don't think I could have handled it much longer." George said standing up and walking to the window to look out to hide the tears that began falling.
"Thank you Hermione for whatever you did then, and I hope you will agree with us that we owe you more than we can say for it." Fred said as he glanced her way tipping his head toward his brother.
"It was no problem Fred, I wanted to bring you back to your family and I knew if I worked hard enough I could do it." She blushed brightly at the look he gave her. "You don't owe me anything other than to get better and get out of here. You and George have a store to run and what would we do without it, or you?" She walked over and hugged George from behind so he didn't have to turn, and then leaned down to hug Fred gently as well. "I'll leave you guys alone now so you can catch up. Send me a note if you need me, I should be close." She walked out the door and shut it with one last smile at Fred.
"Georgie, I don't know how or when, but our Miss Granger has grown into a beautiful young woman. And brought me back or not, I will be forever dreaming of that rosy cheeked smile." Fred said as George turned and sat on the edge of the bed to lay next to his brother.
I was never as good at latin and you were so I don't even know what what she said meant. All I know is you're back where you should be and you are not allowed to leave me alone again, it felt like part of me was missing." George finished gaining control over himself as he took comfort of Fred being awake next to him.
"What was the spell, Forge?" Fred asked looking over.
"I think she said, 'Revertetur dilectus meus mihi'. Do you know what it means?" George finished.
Fred looked shocked for a minute before turning to George with a blush. "Georgie, does she know I speak Latin?"
"I don't think so Freddie, we've never mentioned it. Why what does it mean?" George looked at him confusedly."Well, sometimes it doesn't always translate back and forth and mean the same thing, but in this form...in this form it means either 'return my love to me' or 'I return to my beloved'. Either way I think we, or maybe just I, should talk to her." Fred looked at George as they both shared the same awe and surprised looks on their faces.
After spending less than a week in the hospital after he woke up, Fred was finally being sent home. He was looking forward to it because not once in the week had he had more than a couple chances to talk to Hermione but in those few he had lost the courage, and after that he was never alone. Home. The Burrow. A place he hadn't apparently been in almost 8 months. He hope once he was there he could catch Hermione alone once in a while since she was still staying there for now. As they sat him down in the living room everyone migrated away to get things done and he and George sat in the family room with Hermione. He knew it was now or never even if George was there too.
"Hermione?" He asked quietly not wanting to disturb her if she was busy.
"Hmm" She responded without looking up.
"Can I ask you a question if you're not busy?" He looked down so he didn't need to see her look up.
"Of course Fred. What would you like to ask me?" She looked at the top of his head as his ears began turning red.
"Well, the spell you used to bring me back, where did you get it? Did you make it up yourself? Or was it in the research you were looking for?" He finished not looking up but hitting George on the knee when he snorted and tried to cover it with a cough.
"I created it myself. Why do you ask?" She looked down fighting a blush as she hoped he didn't know.
Fred took a deep breath pulled himself up with George's help and then pushing him toward the door. He knelt down in front of her with some difficulty, finally getting on her level and pulling her head up by her chin. He met her eyes as he asked, "Do you really love me?" His eyes pleading for an answer.
Hermione tried to looked down knowing it was useless. She steeled her shoulders and let out a whoosh of air. She looked him straight in the eye as she answered. "Yes Fred, I really do. It started with a crush in Third Year, but after seeing what you and George did for the younger kids and everyone else at school during the Umbridge debacle, I knew then it wasn't a crush anymore. But the moment I knew I should have told you was when your family told me we had lost you." She looked down as he dropped her chin in shock. "Did anyone tell you that yet? They thought you were dead. We all thought you weren't coming back. I know we haven't told you everything yet to help you get better first, but until they actually started pulling out the bodies of the people we knew were gone and someone realized you had a faint heartbeat, we thought you were gone too. I realized then that I would never get to tell you I loved you, and the hope I felt when they said you were still with us made me spend every single second I could looking for a way to bring you back. And I did it." She smiled down at him as his mouth continued to hang open.
"I can't believe I didn't know. I wish now that I would have. Oh 'Mione, you don't understand, I had a crush on you too, watching you stand up for Harry in Sixth Year with the Tournament, and then Umbridge too. Knowing what you did and finding out I almost lost you in the Department of Mysteries broke my heart but I thought you liked Ron so I never said anything. 'Mione "Mione 'Mione, we are just a couple of hopeless romantics." Fred smiled at her surprised face pulling her toward him as he finished. "And I think I will take this moment to ask you to be my girlfriend, and do this." Her eyes opened wider just as his lips touched hers for a kiss that was perfect and blissful in both their minds.
Hermione smirked as she pulled away. "Oh Fred?"She asked as he looked at her unable to speak. "The answer is yes. Of course I'll be your girlfriend." She giggled as he whooped and she pulled him towards her for another wonderful kiss.