It had been a fortnight since Blue had fallen into a coma; two weeks since the twins were brought safely home. It was a miracle that neither one seemed to be suffering from many nightmares except for the first few nights. Corinne seemed to be shy around others at first, but warmed back up to her usual self quickly.
Caitlyn had hardly left the hospital and Blue’s bedside. Harry had had to forcibly drag her away the first few days; after that she agreed to go home in the evenings, but was unable to sleep almost every night. She hardly ate either; Harry and Hermione were both growing increasingly worried about their daughter.
“Ron?” Grace poked her head around the wall of the waiting room. “Lavender?” Both of them got up, their faces grey with lack of sleep and worry.
“Grace.” Ron said, gripping his wife’s hand tightly.
“Come with me.” She didn’t smile as she led them into Blue’s room, her smart white robe swishing around the door as she closed it behind them.
“What’s the latest?” Ron asked listlessly as the three of them sat down on the uncomfortable hospital chairs. “Did any of those spells work?”
Grace bit her lip. “No.” she answered quietly, looking down at her charts. “I’m so sorry.” She fought back tears that were threatening to fall. She had not wanted to head up Blue’s case, for the personal reasons, but the other medi-wizards thought it fine that she did, and Ron and Lavender both said they trusted her.
Lavender let out a long disheartened sigh and buried her face in her hands. Ron clenched his fists and stalked to the window, staring outside as if that would alleviate his grief.
“There’s nothing else?” Lavender asked in a quiet voice. “No other spells… anything?” the hope in her voice was almost too much for Grace to bear.
“I don’t think so.” She answered softly. “I’ve got as many people as I can spare researching this to find any sort of cure but we’ve had no results so far.” Lavender began to sob and Ron was instantly at her side.
“Is there anything…ANYTHING else?” he asked, desperation creeping into his voice. “There has to be something…”
“The only thing I can tell you is time.” Grace said. “His body went through such trauma with that curse, having it on him for so long, that it needs all this time to recover. But even our spells should have woken him up by now. The only ones that work are the ones keeping him alive this very moment.”
All three of them looked towards the bed, where Blue’s chest rose and fell steadily, his face was quiet and still, not even a flicker under his eyelids.
“As a medi-wizard…” Grace began, unsure of how to phrase her words. “I would say that his outlook is…. bleak…at best.” She paused for a moment. “As a friend to the both of you, I will tell you that the chances of him waking up are slim to none. I won’t lie to either of you.”
Ron dipped his head; the tears that had threatened and stung his eyes fell freely. He felt Lavender sway in the chair next to him. He pulled her into his arms and they both shook with violent tears. Grace clutched her charts in her hand tightly as her own tears came.
“Would you mind giving us a minute alone?” Ron asked, looking up from where he held his wife closely. “Lav and I need…. to talk….”
“Of course.” Grace nodded. “I’ll be in my office when you need me.” She turned and left, closing the door softly behind her.
“Ron!” Lavender sobbed. “We can’t let him go! I won’t let him go!”
“Lav…” Ron started. “We need to really talk about this.”
“What’s there to talk about?” Lavender asked shrilly. “I’m not letting him die!”
“I don’t want him to die either!” Ron burst out. “But Grace is right; those spells they used on him were some of the most complex ones ever created. They should have woken him up even if he’d been enchanted to sleep the rest of his life.” He gripped his wife’s shoulders. “The last thing I want to do, the last thing, is to give up on him.”
“Then why are you even bringing it up?” Lavender asked.
“Because….” Ron sat back and pushed his hair off his face. “Because we have to do what’s best for Blue as well. If he’s not going to wake up, then we… owe it to him, to let him go where he won’t be in any pain.”
Lavender was silent. “Is he really in pain?” she asked, her voice tiny.
“Most likely.” Ron’s mouth was dry as he thought of his son hurting. “But we have to make this decision together.” He took her hands in his. “If he doesn’t wake up by…tomorrow….”
“I don’t want him to be in pain, Ron.” Lavender whispered. “But I can’t face the thought of him not being here anymore either.”
“He’ll never be gone, will he though?” Ron asked gently. “We’ll always remember him, Caitlyn will too, all his friends… his fans…”
“You’re right…” Lavender pulled a tissue from her bag and blew her nose. “I don’t want him to suffer, if that’s what he’s doing.”
Ron pulled her back into his arms. “We’ll get through this somehow… the hardest part next to actually…will be telling everyone.”
“Caitlyn’s not going to take this well at all.” Lavender looked up at him. “I can’t even begin to think how to break this to her.”
Ron stroked his wife’s hair gently, trying to soothe her as he felt his heart shatter into a million pieces. They both got up and went to their son’s bedside.
Lavender bent down and kissed his forehead. “I only hope you’ll understand.” She whispered.
A knock startled both of them, and Ron saw Harry standing outside, inching the door open. “Come in.” he motioned. Harry stepped in the room, Hermione and Caitlyn behind him.
“Any news?” he asked, coming up next to them.
Ron looked at Lavender. “Spells didn’t work.” He gestured to the chairs. “You guys might want to sit down.”
Caitlyn fell into a chair, her eyes were red rimmed with dark circles underneath; she’d obviously gotten no sleep again the night before. Hermione sat next to her, smoothing back her daughter’s hair.
“None of the spells worked?” Harry asked, a dull ache settling in his chest.
Ron shook his head, his eyes aimed at the floor. “We were just talking to Grace,” he said as Harry took the seat next to Hermione. “She’s told us the chances of him waking at this point are slim to none.”
Hermione let out a small gasp. Caitlyn stared up at Ron and Lavender dully, as if trying to process the information in her tired head. Harry’s mouth dropped open, horrible waves of guilt and remorse washing over him. “Ron I’m so sorry.”
“No…no there’s more.” Ron said as they now sat as well, he didn’t think he could tell them this while standing up and he knew Lavender was close to passing out as well. “Lav and I…. we…. I don’t even know how to say this….” He buried his face in his hands.
“If Blue doesn’t wake up by tomorrow morning…. we’re going to let Grace take the spells off him.” Lavender’s voice cracked on the last words as she dissolved into sobs again.
“What?” Caitlyn looked alert for the first time since entering the room. Harry and Hermione looked at each other worriedly, their mouths hanging open in shock.
“There’s almost no hope left for him.” Ron said hoarsely. “They’ve tried almost every spell thought of, and nothing has worked. The only reason he’s still even alive is because of the few charms that do work.” He wiped away at his eyes. “Grace and the others…they also say that he’s in a lot of pain…” Ron couldn’t finish his sentence.
Hermione’s eyes filled with tears, and she enveloped Ron in a large hug. “Ron I’m so sorry!” she sobbed. Harry reached for Lavender; he tried his best to comfort her.
“I’m so sorry you guys.” Harry tried to choke back his own tears, to no avail. “I feel like this is my fault.”
“No Harry.” Ron said. “No. Neither one of us blames you for this.”
Harry couldn’t help but feel guilty. “I just…” he began, but was cut off by his daughter.
“You’re letting him die?” Caitlyn asked, hurt in her eyes. “How could you?”
“Caitlyn!” Harry stepped towards his daughter.
She ignored her father, and focused on her beloved’s parents. “You can’t let him die I won’t let you!”
Ron closed his eyes a moment. “Caitlyn, we’re both so sorry…. If there was any other way…”
“NO!” she screamed, lunging for the bed, all her senses were gone by now and she didn’t care what she was doing. “You’ll have to get by me to do it!”
“Caitlyn, love…” Harry said, coming forward to gently pull her away. “Ron and Lavender have to make this decision…”
“They don’t know him like I do!” Caitlyn shouted. “He wouldn’t want to die like this!”
“Of course he wouldn’t.” Hermione tried, stepping towards her daughter. “But sweetie…”
“Get back!” Caitlyn pulled her wand out of her pocket and aimed it at her own mother.
“Caitlyn!” Harry grabbed his daughter’s wrist and forced her to drop her wand. “Come now…” he was struggling to remain calm; his sorrow was keeping him from growing angry. She collapsed in his arms, crying.
“I’m so sorry.” Hermione apologised weakly, scooping up the wand as Harry held their sobbing daughter in his arms. “We’ll take her home and come back later…” she hugged Lavender tightly and kissed Ron’s cheek. “If there’s anything we can do right now….”
Ron shook his head numbly, while Lavender managed to mumble something that sounded like a ‘thank you.’ Harry half carried Caitlyn out the door, Hermione following.
When they arrived home, Caitlyn violently jerked away from her father, casting accusatory glares at both her parents. “How could you take me from there? He’s going to die and I won’t be able to see him again! Do you know how that feels?” she screamed, and without waiting for an answer, pounded her way up the stairs. A resolute SLAM echoed throughout the house moments later.
Harry and Hermione both looked at George, who had agreed to come over and watch the twins while they went to the hospital.
“That bad?” George asked, his voice gone hoarse.
Harry nodded. “Your brother is really going to need you right now.” He answered quietly. “Thanks for coming over.”
“Sure,” George replied. He hugged both of them and then apparated out. Harry and Hermione looked at each other.
“I do know how she feels.” He answered quietly, and Hermione went into his arms. She stroked his back gently as a lone tear trickled down his cheek.
Upstairs, Caitlyn managed to do a nice job of trashing her room before collapsing in near exhaustion on her bed. “WHY?” she screamed into her pillow, pounding her fists on her wrinkled sheets. Tears burst forth once more as Caitlyn thought about Ron and Lavender’s decision.
“I’m never going to see him again….” Her breath was coming in fast gasps as this realisation hit her like a ton of bricks. Caitlyn got up and went over to the mirror, staring at her reflection. “Oh…. God…. I’m never going to see him again am I?” She was hyperventilating now, the room swimming before her eyes. And then everything went black as she fell.
Harry and Hermione broke apart as they heard the loud thud, and Harry rushed up the stairs with Hermione on his heels.
“Caitlyn?” he called, knocking softly on her door. When she didn’t answer, he pushed the door open. “Caitlyn!” Harry tore into the room and picked his daughter from the floor. “Get a wet cloth …” he said to Hermione, who turned and ran into the bathroom. “Come on baby…” he said, depositing her carefully on the bed. His wife returned with the wet cloth; she laid it on Caitlyn’s forehead.
“She’s so exhausted.” Hermione said softly, pressing the cloth down gently and stroking her hair back. “She hasn’t gotten any sleep, no wonder she fainted.”
Harry pressed his lips together grimly. “The news probably came as such a shock to her…”
“I’m sure it did.” Hermione answered. “It’s hard for us all to think about, but I’m sure it’s hardest on Ron and Lavender. Their only child.” Fresh tears came to her eyes. “Should we go back, you think?”
Harry shook his head. “Let them have their time alone with him.”
Hermione nodded wordlessly into his shoulder, then pulled away and sat back down next to Caitlyn. “I don’t want to leave until she wakes up.”
Harry nodded, sitting on her other side. They sat in silence for a good fifteen minutes more before Caitlyn finally stirred.
“Wha…what’s…” she struggled to sit up.
“Shhhh,” Hermione gently pushed her back down on the pillow. “Love, you fainted.”
“My head hurts…” Caitlyn mumbled.
“You probably hit it when you fell.” Harry said, squeezing her hand.
Caitlyn stared up at her ceiling for a few minutes, trying to figure her thoughts out. “What happened?”
“You fainted.” Hermione repeated gently. “The news was probably too much for you.”
“News?” she asked. “What news?”
Harry looked at his wife. “Love, about Blue.”
Caitlyn’s eyes went unfocused for a moment, then filled with tears as everything rushed back over her. “Mum I thought that was a nightmare…”
“Oh sweetheart, I wish it was.” Hermione hugged her daughter to her. Caitlyn couldn’t bring herself to say a word, just sobbed into her mother’s shoulder.
“I don’t want him to die!” she finally cried, her words punctuated by hiccups.
“We know, love, we know,” Harry reached up and stroked her hair. They all sat together for a long while, until they could hear one of the twins awaken. “Why don’t I go check on them,” Harry suggested, breaking away from his wife and daughter. Hermione nodded and he left.
“Sweetie, why don’t you rest a little while?” Hermione tried. “I know you’ve got to be exhausted.”
“I can’t sleep.” Caitlyn replied. “Every time I try to…” she couldn’t finish her sentence as fresh tears came to her eyes.
“A shower or a bath?” Hermione pressed.
“No,” Caitlyn said dully.
“Well how about you just lie back and rest with this on your head then?” Hermione pushed her back down on the pillow and set the cool cloth back over her forehead. “It’ll help you feel better.”
“All right,” Caitlyn replied, unable to fight.
“Do you want some tea?” Hermione smoothed the cloth gently.
“I don’t care,” she replied. “I guess so.”
“All right,” Hermione said. “I’ll go make you some and be back up here in a moment.”
Caitlyn lay motionless on her bed for a minute after her mother left and then got up and went over to her mirror. “Bloody hell I look awful.” She muttered. Her face was white as snow, her eyes dull and red. “No wonder Blue isn’t waking up, not like he has much to wake up to.” Caitlyn leaned closer. Her long locks fell in lank, ugly strings over her shoulders and down her back. “He loved my hair,” she said, bringing up a hand to run her fingers through the length, then curled her hand into a fist and slammed it against the mirror in anger.
Caitlyn let her hand drop and stared at herself again for what felt like an hour. In a dream like state, she fumbled in her dresser drawer and brought out a pair of scissors. Raising them up, she pulled out a lock and closed the blades around them.
The two foot long tress fell to the floor, and she looked down at it, then at the severed strands hanging just above her shoulder. In the same trance like motion, she did the same to several more locks, hacking like a madwoman at her once lovely hair, not noticing the angry whimpers coming from her throat.
“Caitlyn!” Hermione nearly dropped the teacup in shock as she entered her daughter’s room. “What are you doing?”
Caitlyn jumped as she severed another piece of hair. It fell to the floor along with the scissors, and she looked down at the carpet as if seeing what she had done for the first time. She looked back up at her mother, opening her mouth, but no words came out.
Hermione set the teacup on the small table next to the door, closing it behind her. “Do you want me to try and fix it?” she asked softly, taking in the long hair on one side and the short on the other.
Caitlyn nodded. “I… I don’t know what happened…”
“It’s all right,” Hermione was recovering from her shock. Caitlyn sat down and Hermione took a brush from the dresser top. “It won’t be too bad,” she said soothingly.
Caitlyn stared numbly at herself, feeling stupid. Why had she gone and chopped off all her hair? It was the dumbest thing she’d ever done by far. ‘I’m really losing it…’ Her mother had a look of concentration on her face as she tried to fix what was left, and they were both silent as she worked.
“Well,” Hermione set the brush and scissors down on the dresser. “I’m certainly no hair witch, but it looks rather good.” She looked at her daughter and then leaned down to hug her. “It’ll grow back.”
“I know,” Caitlyn replied, touching her newly shoulder length hair with trembling fingers. “Thanks.”
“Come on,” Hermione guided her over to the bed. “Drink some tea, and then I want you to try and get some sleep.”
Caitlyn was still too much in shock over what she had just done to argue. Dutifully sipping the hot tea, she settled down on the bed and Hermione pulled a light blanket over her.
“Sleep,” she said softly, brushing back some loose strands over Caitlyn’s forehead. Her daughter’s eyes began to droop and she seemed to fall asleep quite fast. Hermione sighed then, looking down at her, and then got up, retrieving the scissors and cleaning up the mess on the floor.
Harry was downstairs, giving the twins some pumpkin juice and biscuits. He saw the look on Hermione’s face and pulled her into the living room.
“What’s wrong?” he asked, concerned.
Hermione shook her head. “Caitlyn… I’m so worried about her Harry… do you know what she’s just gone and done?” Harry shook his head and she continued. “She’s just gone and cut off her hair… and I don’t even think she knew she was doing it.”
“What?” Harry asked, his jaw dropping.
“I’ve just had to sit upstairs and fix it for her, and then she finally fell asleep.” Hermione crossed her arms. “Harry… I think that if tomorrow…. I don’t know what’s going to happen to her.”
Harry’s jaw twitched. “I can’t believe that….” His anger began to work up again. “Can’t we all just catch a break?” he asked in a furious whisper. “If it’s not one bloody thing it’s another…can’t we all just be happy?”
“I don’t know, Harry,” Hermione said, small tears at the corners of her eyes. She wiped them away hastily. “Come on; let’s go sit with Carl and Corinne.” He didn’t argue as she went back in the kitchen and hid the scissors in a drawer.
*** Several Hours Later***
Caitlyn wearily opened her still bloodshot eyes. Her mother had just been sitting next to her on the bed, her hand stroking away her hair in a soothing manor. Her fingers flew up and touched her locks, and she winced as they came in contact with the severed ends.
“Bloody hell, I thought that was a dream,” Caitlyn said to herself. It was dark in the room now, the only light coming from the moon outside. “I’ve been sleeping for awhile.” Grabbing her watch out of the drawer next to her bed, she saw that it was nearly nine in the evening. The house was quiet; it seemed as if everyone had gone to bed.
Caitlyn got up, turning on a light. She tossed her dirty clothes into a heap on her floor and pulled on a different pair of jeans and a jumper she blindly grabbed from her closet. Pulling her hair back into a now shorter ponytail, Caitlyn looked at her reflection again, and then quietly left the bedroom. There was a light on in her parent’s bedroom, and she could hear them talking softly behind the closed door.
“I’ve got to go back to the hospital,” she muttered quietly as she descended the stairs. If she wasn’t able to see Blue at least one more time before he died… Caitlyn didn’t want to finish that thought as she apparated out and into the hospital ward.
“Hi,” she said in a small tone as she came up to Ron and Lavender, who were sitting next to Blue’s bed.
Ron looked up; his eyes were almost as bloodshot as Caitlyn’s. “Hi, Caitlyn.” A slight smile crossed his face.
“I’m really sorry about what I said to you both earlier.” She fidgeted a bit with her shirt. “It wasn’t my place to shout at either of you like that.”
Lavender got up and hugged her tightly. “It’s all right, sweetie. We weren’t angry about it.”
Caitlyn nodded into Lavender’s shoulder. “I’m just… I just wish it wasn’t him…” Burning tears sprang to her eyes again. “Anyone but Blue.” She choked back a sob.
“We know, Caty.” Ron said from his seat.
“Do you think I could have a few minutes alone with him?” Caitlyn asked softly.
“Of course.” Lavender replied. She touched Ron’s arm and he got up from the bedside.
“We’ll be right outside.” He said kindly, “We don’t want to go too far…you know…”
Caitlyn nodded but said nothing as they left the room. Turning to Blue, she took one of his hands in hers. She sat silently for a few long moments, just stroking his red hair.
“I don’t even know where to begin.” Her own voice startled her; it was loud in the still room. “I don’t even think you can hear me, I wish you could, I wish I had told you before exactly how much you mean to me.” Tears burned her eyes but they did not fall. “I look back on these five years we’ve been together, and I don’t think I’ve told you even once how important you are. And now you’ll be gone.” The tears spilled over and she brushed them away.
“I tried to spend a night in our flat last week…I couldn’t. I had to leave in the middle of the night and go to my parents’ house, and I’ve been staying there ever since.” She spoke softer now. “Everything reminds me of you…Blue why won’t you just open your eyes, please! For me!” the tears flowed faster again as Caitlyn squeezed his hand, willing him to just wake up. “Please Blue…” she begged, leaning down over him and pressing her hand to his face. “I need you so bad, please…I love you so much and I need you to know that.” She paused and looked at him. “I don’t think I’m that selfish in wanting you here Blue. I need you more than anyone else does.” Caitlyn laid her head down on the pillow next to him, and tried hard to pretend that they were back in their bed at home, and she was just watching him sleep.
“I wish this were a dream.” She said. “I can’t believe that this is true, I can’t believe I’m laying here saying goodbye to you forever.”
Caitlyn couldn’t stand it anymore, being there watching Blue so pale and weak in the hospital bed was too much for her to handle now, especially knowing that he’d never be looking at her again. “Goodbye Blue, I’ll always love you. I just hope you’ll wait for me wherever you go.” Caitlyn said, crying harder. Leaning over, she kissed him on the lips for the last time, and fled the room, new tears cascading down her cheeks.
She ran past Ron and Lavender, who were sitting outside the room. Caitlyn couldn’t face them right now, even though she did not blame them for having to come to this decision, Ron and Blue looked so similar that it would be harder now than seeing him in that bed. She came upon the apparition section and disappeared before she could see anyone.
She decided to apparate in about a block from her parents’ home, she wanted to get some fresh air before going back in. Caitlyn walked slowly along the lane, purposefully not looking over at the dark Weasley home in case it brought on a whole new torrent of tears.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do.” She muttered, wrapping her arms around herself, wishing so hard that it was Blue hugging her. “I thought he would be here forever with me.” Wiping at her tearstained cheeks, she quietly opened the back door and entered the kitchen. Her father was inside, making himself some tea. Harry looked up in surprise as Caitlyn came in the door.
“I didn’t know you went out.” He said.
“I went to the hospital.” Caitlyn replied quietly.
Harry raised his eyebrows. “Oh?” he turned around fully to look at his daughter.
“I had to… say goodbye.” Caitlyn sat down limply at the table. She sniffled as tears spilled over again.
“Oh Caty I’m sorry.” Harry sat down next to her. He reached out and comfortingly moved a few stray hairs off her forehead. “Anything you want me to do?”
“No.” Caitlyn brushed at her face and looked down at her lap. “Only if you can make him wake up.”
“I wish I could, love.” Harry answered. “I wish I could.” He sat up straighter and tried to get a look at his daughter’s face.
“Thanks.” She mumbled, finally looking up. Harry had to bite his lower lip hard to keep from grimacing. There were black smudges underneath her swollen eyes, and her face was pale, her figure gaunt from not eating.
“Why don’t you go upstairs and rest?” Harry finally suggested. “I’ll bring you up some tea or something when it’s ready.”
“Okay.” Caitlyn shrugged disinterestedly. She got up from the table and shuffled into the hallway, nearly tripping over some toys left on the floor. Quietly she passed Carl and Corinne’s room, looking in on them for a second and then continuing on to her own. She shut the door firmly behind her and collapsed on the bed, sheer exhaustion from her roller coaster emotions making her pull her body into the fetal position to feel any sort of comfort at all.
Harry watched her go, his heart growing heavy. He absolutely hated seeing his eldest daughter in so much pain; her whole situation reminded him greatly of what had happened with Hermione so many years ago now. The tea kettle whistled, bringing Harry out of his thoughts. He poured a mug and took it up the stairs, knocking softly on Caitlyn’s door. When she didn’t answer, he pushed the door open slowly and saw her slight form huddled on the bed.
Harry set the mug on her bedside table and Caitlyn turned over. “I’m sorry honey; I didn’t mean to wake you up.” He said apologetically.
“I wasn’t sleeping.” She mumbled, reaching over for the mug and taking a small sip.
Harry sat down next to her and stroked her back. “Why don’t you try?”
“Every time I close my eyes, all I can see is Blue lying there in that hospital bed.” Caitlyn said brokenly. She looked up at her father. “I can’t even go back to my flat without sobbing, I can’t eat without thinking of all the times we went out to dinner, I can’t go to sleep because I think of all the times we fell asleep in each other’s arms.” She buried her face in her hands and began to bawl once more. Harry moved forward to hug her tightly.
“Shhhh…” Harry began to rock her back and forth like he’d done when she was a young child. “Caitlyn, whatever happens now, you’ll be fine… you’re a very strong young woman.”
“I don’t feel so strong right now.” Her voice was muffled because her face was pressed into his shoulder. “I don’t feel fine.”
“Well of course you don’t, not right now, but it’ll get better with time. And unlike me, you have family to help you get through things.” He said comfortingly, stroking her hair in a soothing fashion.
Caitlyn realised how similar this was to what her father had gone through when her mother disappeared. He had had absolutely no one to turn to, yet he had swallowed his grief to take care of her and make sure she had a good life. She sniffled and wrapped her arms around her father, and he hugged her tighter. “I just don’t understand why this had to happen, haven’t we all been through enough?”
“I know love, I know.” Harry didn’t want to try and reason with her at that moment, she needed comforting more than anything else. “It was a very selfless thing Blue did.”
“It makes me so mad, when I think about that.” She burst out. “Why did he have to be so courageous?”
“If he hadn’t, we probably wouldn’t have your brother and sister back.” Harry said softly.
“Yeah.” She sniffed. “You’re right…but I just… I just want him to be okay.” She began to sob again and Harry began to rock her once more.
“Come on, love, have a kip, it will help you feel better later. You’re going to need your strength.” He said, pushing her back.
Caitlyn had no more will left in her to argue. She put her head down on her pillow, sniffling back more tears. “Dad?” she asked when he got up to leave.
“Yes?” he asked.
“Will you stay with me until I fall asleep?”
Harry smiled down at her. “Of course I will.” He replied, taking her hand firmly in his. He leaned down and kissed her on the forehead. “Now I feel like you’re about 8 years old again.” He tried to joke, and it actually got a weak smile out of her.
“Thanks.” Caitlyn whispered gratefully as she closed her eyes.
Harry sat and watched her, no more than five minutes passed when he could tell she was asleep by her steady breathing. He gently pulled his hand from hers; he spoke a soft ‘Nox’ so that her room was left in darkness.
Hermione closed the door to the twins’ room; she still felt the urge to check on them at least once or twice every few hours. She looked down the hallway to see Harry quietly leaving Caitlyn’s bedroom; he looked quite upset.
“What’s the matter?” she asked softly as he came down and joined her.
Harry sighed deeply. “Caty went back to the hospital. Seems she said her… goodbye to Blue.”
Hermione gasped, her eyes filling with tears. “Oh no…” she made a move to go to Caitlyn’s room but Harry held her arm.
“She’s just fallen asleep for the first time in who knows how long.” He said softly. “Let her be until she wakes up.”
Hermione looked like she wanted to argue, but didn’t. “All right.” She agreed.
“I made some tea.” Harry said. “Let’s go in the kitchen so we don’t wake any of the kids.” He tucked Hermione’s hand in his and gave it a squeeze.
Seated around the table moments later, he sighed, staring into his mug. “This frustrates me, so much.” Harry said, clenching his fist. “She’s in so much pain and I can’t do a DAMN thing about it!”
“All we can do is be there for her.” Hermione said, sipping her tea and then reaching forward to relax his hand in hers. “She’s really going to need us tomorrow, when…” the rest of her sentence hung in the air; Hermione didn’t want to say it aloud.
Harry got up and moved into the chair next to his wife. “I’m lucky.” He said softly.
“So am I.” Hermione smiled at him.
Harry pulled her over so that she was sitting on his lap. “To think I could have lost you, lost this…” he made a small sound in his throat and Hermione kissed him gently.
“Harry I wouldn’t have given up on you without a real fight, you know that.” She gently brushed his wild hair out of his eyes. “And now we’re all back together, and everything’s fine.”
“I just wish everything was fine with Caitlyn too. It kills me to see her this miserable.”
“Me too.” Hermione replied. “I remember before they got together when she came to me for advice about him. Reminded me so much of us.”
“Oh really?” Harry gave her a soft smile.
“Come on, best friends since age eleven, in love and not realising it until it smacks them in the face?” Hermione said. “The only difference is in our time he’d be Ron.”
“Wouldn’t want that.” Harry said. He wove their fingers together and pressed his lips to the back of her hand. “Come on, I want to check on everyone and then go to bed. It’s been a long day that I’d really like to forget.”
Hermione set the mugs in the sink and followed him upstairs; Harry peeked into the twins’ room while she quietly looked in on Caitlyn. She was still sleeping, which was a good thing, so Hermione didn’t go into the room.
“How are they?” she whispered as Harry closed their door.
“Fast asleep. Caty?”
“Good.” Harry took her hand and pulled her into their bedroom. “I love you ‘Mione.” He said, after they dressed for bed and were slipping under the covers.
“I love you too Harry.” She replied sleepily, snuggling up next to him.
*** *** *** *** *** ***
Caitlyn was dreaming. At least, she thought she was dreaming. Sitting up on her bed, she noticed she was wearing a long black dress.
“When the hell did I put this on?” she wondered. She got up to look at herself in the mirror, her hair was long again and pulled back in a low bun at her nape, she was wearing the diamond earrings Blue had given her for their first anniversary, and her face was made up with the slightest hint of makeup.
“You look nice.”
Caitlyn whirled around and gasped. Blue was sitting on the edge of her bed, in a Muggle suit and tie. “Blue?”
His face remained unsmiling as he looked at her silently.
She rushed over to the bedside. “I thought…I thought you were…” Caitlyn took his hands in hers, they were cold as ice. “Blue?”
“We’re late.” He spoke again; his voice was low and cool.
“For what?” Caitlyn asked. “I don’t understand.”
Blue turned and looked at her, his formerly warm blue eyes were cold and sharp as daggers. “You will.”
Caitlyn felt a deep pit of fear in her stomach as Blue turned on his heel and left the room. She wasn’t sure why she was following, but she did. As soon as she walked out her door, it was not her hallway, but a large parlour.
People were gathered, many, many people. Some of them Caitlyn knew, others she didn’t.
“Blue? What’s going on here?” she turned to ask, but he wasn’t there. Where had he gone? She looked across the room, and saw her parents standing with Ron and Lavender. Relieved to see a familiar face, she began to walk across the room to her family.
Everything seemed to be in slow motion. People stopped talking and turned to stare at her. Caitlyn could not hear what they were saying, but no one was smiling, when she tried to meet their eyes they would look away. What was going on?
“Mum, Dad?” she asked, coming up to their side. Hermione was holding Harry’s arm and weeping. As she spoke, they both turned to look at her, and Caitlyn recoiled. The amount of hatred in their eyes made her feel sick. She turned and stumbled into someone else; looking up she could see it was Ron.
“What’s going on?” she begged, but he also stared at her with that horrible cold look in his eyes. Caitlyn gasped, looking to Lavender, but was met with the same stare. Ron pushed her away. She scanned the crowd for one face that wasn’t glaring at her, but to no avail. The ice in everyone’s eyes was freezing her very soul. She spun around to escape, and found herself face to face with something even more awful.
Blue. Blue was in a coffin.
Caitlyn slammed her fists over her eyes to block out the sight. How could he be in a coffin when he had just been standing by her?
“Oh…please tell me it’s not true.” She uttered weakly, bringing her hands back down and staring at his body. “He’s not dead, he can’t be dead.”
“I am dead.” A voice made her turn to her left. Blue was standing there, glaring at her with even more hatred than the others.
“But…but…” Caitlyn looked frantically from him standing to him in his coffin.
“I died because of you.” He spat, drawing closer. “They all know it. They all blame you.”
“No!” she shook her head and backed away from him. “No! I didn’t want you to die!” Tears spilled from her eyes. “I love you! I want you here with me!”
Blue shook his head, narrowing his eyes. “You didn’t believe in me, that I could live.”
“NO!” she screamed. “No! It WASN’T ME!”
“Yes it was.” Her father’s frosty voice now cut through her. “If you had fought harder for him, he would have stayed for you.”
“But I tried.” Caitlyn protested weakly, and her father strode forward, gripping her arms tightly.
“No you didn’t Caitlyn!” he growled, shaking her roughly. “Wake up!”
“What?” she asked, confused.
“Wake up!” he shook her again, but less roughly. “Wake up!”
“Caitlyn, wake up!” Hermione gently shook her daughter, tears dripping off her face.
“I’M SORRY!” Caitlyn screamed as her eyes flew open. She gasped to catch her breath as Hermione sat back.
“Are you all right?” she pressed her hand to her daughter’s forehead and was surprised when she pulled away. “Sweetie, what’s wrong?”
“You don’t hate me?” Caitlyn whispered, holding the covers against herself defensively. She looked down, she was in the same clothes she had been wearing earlier, and her mother was in her father’s nightshirt.
“What?” Hermione was confused.
“Nothing.” Caitlyn muttered, trying to shed the cling the dream still had on her. Her mind was returning; she was more aware. “Why are you crying?”
“Caitlyn, it’s Blue. He’s….”