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Walk Me Home

Chapter Text

This is based on the Pink song of the same name. 

 

"Walk me home in he dead of night,

I cant be alone with all that's on my mind

So say you'll stay with me tonight

Cause there is so much wrong going on outside."

 

So many had fallen, taken their last breath and crumpled to the ground in a glorious cacophony of pain and suffering. The pain across the faces of the survivors mirrored in the contorted final expressions of those lost, pain etched across young and old alike. Dust and blood settled across the great hall, settled to what would be a new dawn, a new beginning. Hermione Granger could not see the new day dawning, could not think of the future she had been fighting for, all she could see was the pain and torment. How were you supposed to just start again? How do you suddenly lower your wands, lower your guard, stop fighting for the future that has arrived?

The Battle of Hogwarts had taken place only 3 weeks prior, the funerals had been held, the trio had been hailed and life in the wizarding world had returned to a state of fearlessness. The Weasley's had returned home to the Burrow with Harry by there side. United in pain for the losses but leaning on each other and rejoicing in those that were still with them. The rest of the Order had dispersed to be with friends and family, celebrating the return to normalcy. Why did everyone else have a way to cope? Why could the brightest witch of her age struggle to move forward? She was stuck alone and lonely.

Hermione had swiftly left the celebrations as soon as she felt her presence wouldn't be missed. She found herself drawn to the home she had shared with her parent, there she had remained for the better part of 3 weeks. Alone with her thoughts, thoughts that she wished she could rid her mind of. Death and destruction, pain, so much pain.

"Fuck off..." pulling at her hair the young witch grabbed one empty vodka bottles she had scattered on the floor around her sofa and hurled it at the opposite wall. "Why can't I do this?" tears started to fall from her deadened eyes it wasn't long until sleep consumed the darkened soul.

"Aaaaaargggghhhh" the scream echoed in the tiny sitting room, drawing her wand the young witch jumped to her unsteady feet and swiftly landed with a clatter on the empty bottles. It took several moments for her to realise the scream had been her own. She was not, as she had vividly pictured, on the floor in front of Bellatrix, she was alone, lonely and forgotten in her home. Blood rushing to her head with the pounding of her crest fallen heart she knew the hangover was about to kick in. She wasn't going to let it.

She made her way to the small kitchen and flung open the cupboards , she knew there was nothing in them but she did not want to face the task of a trip to stock up. Lowering her head in an attempt to summon the strength to move, her eyes landed on the pile of unopened mail the owls had dropped on her table. Clearly not one person cared enough to come and see if she was coping, if she was stable if she was...alive. No all they did was send her letters. Not one person had sought her out, to comfort her, to settle her nerves, to embrace her, to help heal her. Not a singles one.

"Bastards" she hissed as she tore her eyes away from the correspondence. The thunder in her head was starting to increase, she must go now or the ever increasing hangover would settle in. Yes Hermione thought I need to stay drunk, cant let the world in and most definitely not let the hang over start.

Stumbling slightly and she pulled open the door "Shit" thud.. "Oh for fuck...", and there she was again on her back at her front door. Using the door frame to pull herself up she didn't notice the pair of emerald cats green eyes peering through the bay tree branches.

The young witch swayed as she walked along the pavement checking the time, 11.56, 4 minutes until her hangover cure was unreachable for the evening. She quickened her pace, 11.59, not far to go.

Small clench fists battered on the grated door, they had closed. Her lifeline for the last 3 weeks, she just wanted another drink that was all. She had been accustomed to the wander along to the local shop in the dead of night, a solitary journey, a shameful voyage. She knew deep down that her actions were shameful, somewhere...the part of her brain that had shut down when Voldemort had fallen.

It started with a couple of drinks to sooth her damaged soul, that turned into a bottle within a few days. Now three weeks in she was drinking 3 a day and still looking for more. She did not want the alcohol to end, she didn't want to have to face this new world, she didn't want to feel...anything.

From the corner of the street a small tabby cat watched on as her kitten slid down the door tears falling from her eyes once more. A shadow of her former self, a shell of the young woman she had been. Was this what she had been doing for the past few weeks? Why had no one come to find her? There had been no response from her letters for 2 weeks, there had been no response from her gentle knock at the front door. She kicked herself internally for not getting here sooner. There had been so much to do in the past 3 weeks and she had been pulled in every direction but tonight's dinner at the Weasley's had been the last straw. All had assumed that Hermione had been in touch with someone else as they had dealt with everything. Minerva had only just took her seat when talk had turned to the young girl missing from the occasion. "Where is Miss Granger? I expected to see her this evening."

They all looked to each other and muttered they had assumed it was only themselves that was not receiving any return mail. And before the Headmistress had taken another breath she was on her feet and marching out the door to apareate to the small suburb where she knew the young girl would be. And there she found her.

Chapter Text

Water filled eyes looked up upon a shadowy figure slowly heading towards her. She could feel the magic of another and if the last year had taught her anything it was to be ready at any minute for ambush. Her hand tightened on her wand, and then fingers slowly loosened. Pleading that this was one of the remaining Death Eaters having found her, followed her here to end it all. She closed her eyes in bitter satisfaction that it would be over and she wouldn't have to look at those who were in a happy place. She wouldn't have try and scramble back out of the hole she a drunk herself into, she could be freed.

"Hermione, dear. You can't spend all night here like this." Minerva's soft whisper met her ears and she knew she was not in luck that today was not the day it would end. Her pain would have to continue.

"Leave me alone, like everyone has, like you all have. I don't want to see anyone." Minerva's hand led gently on the young girly forearm and as though stung it was snatched away. Just leave me be. I'm fine, I've managed the last 3 weeks without you." The young witch tried to get up but only a few inches off the floor she crumpled back to sitting.

Minerva moved to rest her back against the shop door and slid down to sit next to her. "Hermione my dear, I have been where you are and I have climbed out. I can help you. If you'll let me?" She didn't dare try and touch her companion again for fear of antagonising her further. "May I ask why we have come to be sat in this rather odd position outside a..." She looked up to the sign above the door, "Tesco?"

"Because everyone has returned to play little happy families and celebrations. Smiles on every face, greeting of joy and ever juncture. Has everyone forgotten what has happened over the last 3 years?" Hermione stood finding her feet more steady, determined to stay upright, "Am I the only one who cant stop thinking about it?" Her steadfast tone faltering as imagines from 3 weeks ago flooded her senses and her knees fell from under her.

Minerva was on her feet and caught the young witch before she hit the floor, pulling into a tender hug. Soft whispers gracing her ears, "Shhhhhhhhh...You will get past this, I promise you, you will get passed this."

Hermione tried to extracted herself and push the older woman away, "Don't give me that bullshit, you have no idea..." she stopped, her eyes meeting her former professor's for the first time, the look was that she hadn't seen in them before. Anger, concern, hurt and something that flicked in and out her drink addled mind could not put her finger on.

"Don't you dare say I have no idea what you are going through." Minerva raised herself up to her full grandeur to give this young woman a lecture she very well deserved. "Do you think you reach my age and haven't seen my and many others fair share of the darkness this world offers? Do you think I have lived through 3 wars and haven't seen death and destruction? I have lived through more than you would ever imagine, the loss and pain I have felt over the year would top yours ten fold. Don't you dare try and belittle the pain I have endured to get to where I am now." Eyes smouldering with rage and before Hermione had a chance to react her wand was raised and pointed at the young woman "legilimens."

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Hermione was stood in the grounds of a grand manor house. There in front of her was a young girl no older than 7 or 8, grasping the hand of what could only be her father. She was sobbing, heart wrenching sobs. The young girl flung herself into he arms of the man and screamed into his embrace. The pain playing across her face was evident.

Hermione looked around and she could see a few feet from the pair an elegant coffin lay on the ground. With one last sob Minerva turned to see the coffin vanish in a swirl of green flame and a small head stone appear in its place. 'Isobel McGonagall nee Ross. Beloved mother and wife laid to rest too soon'

...

The scene shifted , Hermione looked upon the smouldering ruins of the same manner house, dawn breaking over the trees in the distance. Minerva looked as though she was in her late teens maybe about the age Hermione was herself. She looked at the soot covered teenager emerge from an opening she had seen a grand window a few minutes previously. Pulling behind her the man she had clung to in grief.

Minerva drew her wand and slowly levitate the lifeless form of her father and placed him atop the grave of her mother and with a swift flick of her was he had vanished and the stone morphed 'and her widower Rev Robert McGonagall, loving father and a soul once lost now found, together forever'

...

She was stood in the great hall at Hogwarts watching Minerva walk away the raised platform at the far end, she had just graduated.

A small shift and they were out by the lake still in her graduation gown sat with a beautiful young woman Hermione thought she recognised but couldn't place where.

"I can't believe we are here Marline, it's over and we are going to go out into this wonderful world together and face each day as it comes" A grin spreading and emanating a wondrous glow from the young witch.

A hand slowly placed onto of Minerva's gently caressing it "Min, I know we have all these plans for the future," she paused to draw a shaky breath. Hermione knew what was about to be said. It was the same thing she had said to Ron sat by this very lake the morning after the battle. "I can't be with you any more, we had a great couple of years, and I'm glad I was there for you this passed summer when your father passed, but I am not now and I will never be the one you are meant to be with. We are so very different and on different paths in life."

...

They were in the Hogshead with a much younger Aberforth handing Minerva a bottle of Firewhiskey. "You might as well take the whole bottle, if the passed few evenings are to go by you will have it finished by the time you retire"

"osht, yooul bbling olds fool. If I hant listend to brther, I'dnt be lke to dis." She struggled through the sentence eyes narrowing in concentration to be understood. Hermione bowed her head knowing exactly what it was like to be that drunk. "Love kans shuv t up his arse"

...

Minerva was much older here , 20 years must have passed. Hermione watched as she was crouched behind a wall, looking over to a field where she could see small mounds of earth dotted at random junctures. Minerva's robes were dishevelled, her hair was ragged and she looked as though she had run a marathon. Hermione followed as the woman rose up and made her way towards the first of the mounds of earth. Hermione gasped as she realised they weren't mounds of dug up earth but heaps of dishevelled robes crumpled as their occupants had fallen in battle. Minerva walked though them with purpose, searching, trying to find the identity of each she passed and moving on in haste when it was evidently not the person she sought. Hermione stopped to look at the mask of Death Eater slipped from its lifeless owners paled face.

"Noooooooooooooooo" Hermione reached for her wand through instinct just as she had done an hour or so earlier when her own cry had roused her from sleep. Swivelling on the spot she viewed the stoic witch she had looked up to for so many years throw herself onto one of the lifeless forms. Hermione didn't get any closer she didn't want to infringe on the memory further than she was.

Then she was forced by the current Minerva McGonagall to move closer to the sobbing witch, hysterical in her grief, not the loss of a close relative but the loss of a deep love. Hermione looked into the restful face of the woman Minerva was currently laid across and knew who she was, Marline McKinnon. She had read a news article when researching the first war. The McKinnon's had died in a battle after being ambushed on a family outing. 20 or 30 years had passed but Hermione could see the power of pain emanating from her old professor at the loss of her first true love.

...

She was stood in the Headmasters office in Hogwarts. A younger Dumbledore than Hermione had ever met was looking at the steadfast Minerva. "Are you sure you are ready to take this post Minerva? I know you have had a tough few months"

"Headmaster I do not need reminded of how I have felt the last few months . I am however ready to be your deputy. I am ready to dedicate myself to the school and nothing more" Professor McGonagall rose off her chair and headed to the door. "You have my confidence and my devotion, and that is all that matters" and the door closed.

...

A flash of the hospital wing drenched in sunlight and a the tip of a black tail under a privacy screen, changed to the darkness of night and Minerva stood among those petrified.

...

Minerva marched down towards Hagrid's cabin wand in hand, Hermione looked away she did not want to see this scene again she had witnessed it first hand in her fifth year.

...

Hermione was stood in Minerva's office watching the older woman open yet another Firewiskey bottle. It felt like she had been stood here watching her for the last 15 years time passing by as the older woman changed but the scene stayed the same. Bottle after bottle after bottle each poured into a small Tumbler before it would jump a few months in time to repeat. Yes somethings in the room had not changed but the woman behind the desk had aged and now resembled the woman who moments ago had raised her wand at her. The passage of time stopped and Minerva was writing next to an empty bottle. Hermione moved closer to see what Minerva was penning. It was Dumbeldore's eulogy.

A single tear fell from Minerva's vacant eye as she took yet another bottle, not bothering with the glass the previous ones had been consumed using. Throwing her head back to take a hefty swig, she took her quill and with a single stroke scored out the very first line 'My best friend'

...

The scene shifted for the last time she was stood beside the older witch as she look upon the destruction caused by the battle of Hogwarts her face as hard as stone, no suffering, no joy , nothing, void of emotion in the emerald eyes.

...

Hermione was back to the present, wand half way to casting a shield charm that would have prevented her being shown the life of her beloved professor.

Her wand fell, clattering loudly in the echoing silence. "I... I'm so... sorry Minerva. I... I can't imagine... how you..." she paused in her stuttering. "I'm just so sorry." Her shoulder sunk and tears started to fall once more. Minerva moved with feline grace and wrapped the younger witch in the strong arms and held her in an embrace of strength and courage trying beyond anything to support the emotional wreck that her favourite student had now become.

 

Chapter Text

They stayed lost in the embrace for several minutes. The older witch holding on tight to the younger and refusing to let her go. Trying to anchor her, to allow her to find her footing in the emotional turmoil that had been ripping her apart. "It will get better, it will take time and you will loose your way once or twice, but you will survive. Merlin, you have survived so much and are still here to battle through this."

"I don't think I have any fight left for this battle." Hermione sniffed into the shoulder of her former professor. "I... I'm," sniff. "I'm lost and I don't know how to find my way back."

Minerva tightened her arms further, at this moment words were not going to get through to her. She therefore allowed her to hand to roam upwards and thread its way through the dishevel mess that was the young woman's hair. "Will you be okay to side along with me?" The request whispered into the brunette's hair.

Hermione pulled back and dared to tilt her head to look into the emerald eye staring at her with concern and understanding, "would you mind if we didn't? I have had a quite a bit to drink and the idea of that is making me quite queasy. Can you..." Hermione was reluctant to become a burden on the woman she was sure would have a hundred and one things to do. To allow her to be burdened with yet another thing, and thinking so little of herself she felt extremely unworthy of help from anyone. Isn't that why she had hidden away and drunk herself into oblivion every night for the past few weeks?

"Can I what my dear?" Minerva enquired, raising an eyebrow in question.

"Can you walk me home," The young woman refused to meet the eye of the elder a she made her request, feeling like a child in the presence of such strength and power that this stoic woman had always been to her. "It's the dead of night and I think the walk will help clear my head. I don't want to take you away from anything that is important though. You have more important things to be doing. Of course you do. It won't take too long I only live..."

Hermione was cut off, "You are important, you are not taking me away from anything and I will enjoy the stroll myself, so let's get out of here and into the warmth and see what I can do to help you." Minerva turned them in the direction of the young woman's home and with that the they began to walk. She kept her arm securely round the young woman's waist, giving her the support physically to keep moving forward and perhaps see that forward was the only direction she had left to go.

Hermione felt the arm against her back and relished in the first human contact she had had since the battle. The last person she had touched had been Bellatrix Lastrange. The cold clammy hands she had grasped to pull her away from the survivors and out of sight had transferred their chill and it had penetrated into the depths of her soul. Feeling the gentle warmth against her back slowly spreading and settling into weary muscles. With each footstep it penetrated further, and as the minute passed she felt a little stronger. Each time a foot passed in front of the other her legs felt less heavy.

Minerva was noticing the slight changed in the young woman and by the time they had silently reached her front door there was more resemblance to the distinctive bounce in Hermione's step that she had witnessed over the passed seven years. "Do you mind if I come in and make sure you are safe?"

Hermione's eyes widened as she looked up into the eyes of the elder. Her house was in no state to entertain visitors let alone someone she had looked up to and someone she held so highly. Even though she felt more human than she had in weeks in the presence of this woman shame of the state of her abode would force her to deny entry. However, as she opened her mouth to say just this she was stalled as Minerva's free hand was raised, "Do not forget what you have just seen my dear. I have been where you are and I am under no illusion if you have failed to look after yourself in the past few weeks you most certainly will not have had a second glance as where you have sequestered yourself," a gentle smile tugging at her lips. "I do not care what state your home is in, I care that you are safe and the only way for me to do so is to accompany you inside," an eyebrow quirked. "Is that agreeable?"

Hermione blinked at the kind words. Not an hour ago she had been screaming at this woman and treating her like she had nothing of value to give. Yet, here she was with nothing but tenderness and care for the young woman. She felt the familiar pang of guilt bubble within her as tears which had been stalled by Minerva's presence began to well in her eyes once more.

"This is not my home," it was barely a whisper but Minerva heard it clearly and waited for the young witch to continue. "It has never been a place I call home. Hog…" Voice cracking as the tears began to slide down her cheeks, "Hogwarts is the only place I would call my home. I'm so lost here and I have nothing to anchor me to hope, I have nothing to remind me of good times. This place will never be safe for me. I have no emotional attachment to it. I am only here as it is a place to stay, somewhere warm and dry and with a bed that is decidedly more comfortable than a camp bed." Her eyes sought the understanding that had been shown to her this evening and was relieved to see it shining back at her through emerald boaring into her. "I am however ashamed of what is inside here even though it is not something that I hold dear I should have taken better care of the place. You may enter but please do not judge me, wholly on what you see."

Minerva slid her hand from its place against Hermione's back up her spine across her shoulder and delicately down her arm slowly squeezing her hand allowing their fingers to intertwine. "I will never, ever judge you." Swiftly pointing her wand at the door, it swung open and the two women, hand in hand crossed the threshold.

Chapter Text

Sooooooo this was supposed to be a longer fic, however due to the fact that the first 5 chapters have taken place over the course of about 3 hours I am looking at this being the finally chapter. I will be adding more instalments to the fic. This will be the “Hurts 2B Human” series, as this fic was inspired by Walk Me Home by P!nk, the next instalment will be Can We Pretend.

I love having a beta, have no idea how I did this before without one. Thank you Lib McGranger for reading through these and fixing my many many many mistakes.

And with that here we go with the last chapter of this, for now. Reviews are always appreciated and keep your eyes out for the next instalment.

As Minerva crossed the threshold she was taken aback by what she could see. There was no sign that the young woman had ventured to the upper level of the house for the few weeks she had been in the property. There was a thick layer of dust covering the wooden staircase, and on the empty picture frames that lines the halls. Hermione had obviously removed any sign of who lived here before she went on the run the previous year. The woman with the death grip still on her hand seemed to be more of a shell than that of the house around them. 

“You have not been doing well here my dear,” Minerva asked, squeezing the fingers interlaced with her own. “I really am sorry I haven’t been here for you.”

“I don’t expect anyone to be there for me.” The young woman’s head hadn’t lifted upon entering the house. “I know I am nothing in this world and the pain I am living through is deserved on every level.” 

Hermione shuffled her feet slightly in her awkwardness, the older woman not wanting to push anything with her young companion held her hand and waited for the other to take the lead. She was in her domain and not wanting to scare her back into her shell. Patience in this instance was a virtue Minerva was more than willing to exercise. 

“Shall we go sit through there?” The young woman pointed towards the living room. “Please ignore the mess.” 

“I see nothing of the sort, young lady. Please lead the way.” Minerva extracted her hand and gently  pushed the young woman forward.

Hermione was tossing bottles from the sofa, and trying to clear the detritus of weeks to create a path and a seat for her mentor and friend. “Take a seat, I would offer you a drink, but I have run out of the good stuff and there is no milk for tea.” A hollow laugh filled the room, “in fact there is no tea, or running water or heat in the house for that matter.” 

“Not a problem. Would you mind terribly if I called an elf from my home to bring us some strong hot coffee?” 

“Coffee,” the young woman’s eyes grew slightly wide and stared straight into the elder witches. “I have never seen you as a coffee drinker.” 

“Well it is quite late or very early depending on how you look at it and I believe a brief discussion may be on the table.” Minerva raised an eyebrow. 

“If we must, but I am not too fond of coffee. As you are well aware. Coffee before my Defence Against the Dark Arts Owl was probably not the best thing and most likely the cause of my failure to gain an Outstanding.” 

“Now there is the dry wit of the young woman I know.” Minerva retorted and snapped her fingers sharply. A small ‘crack’ and a small house elf appeared. 

“How may I help the mistress?” the elf bowed deeply and turned to see Hermione on the other side of the sofa. “And the little Miss, how may I helps?

“Hermione this is Triky, she has been with my family for many many years.” She turned to the elf. “This is Hermione Granger, can you please bring us some of my family blend coffee brewed in a self warming cafetiere?”

“Yes Mistress.” Another crack and the elf was gone. 

“Hermione, you can not keep on living like this, there has to be an answer to your pain.” 

“I would give anything just to be able to sleep for longer than 20 minutes without being woken by the battle cries and deathly shrieks. I can’t get away from them. I need help, I know I need help and I don’t know where to turn.” Tears were flowing again from the young woman’s eyes. 

“I am here for you and more than willing to help you.” Minerva scooted closer to the now sobbing woman. “When you were a child did you ever have nightmares?” the young woman nodded through her sobs. “Then if I may ask how did you get through those times?”

Silently Minerva leant across the table to the just materialised tray, poured the young woman a coffee and placed it in a tentative hand. “Take a sip you will feel better.” The sceptical look that passed over her features caused a smile to spread across the elder witches lips. “You have always trusted me dear, please don’t stop now.” She lifted her own cup to her lips and took a long gulp. 

Hermione followed suit and to her chagrin the hot liquid passing down her throat made her feel slightly less anxious and more inclined to speak. “I don’t know why I doubted you.” The first truly honest smile lit up the dimly lit room. “I used to have a cat, when I was a child. When I would wake up in the night she would jump on my chest and purr.  It always used to make every fear leave and I could drift off to sleep.” The young witch confessed. 

“The purr of a cat is well known to provide soothing and even in some cases healing properties.” Minerva replied. “In fact I have seen it in action on a few occasions.” 

A tranquil silence passed over the pair, both content to just be in the company of the other. After around ten minutes the cups were drained and Minerva could see the young woman’s eye drifting closed. “Right young lady” she stood suddenly causing Hermione to drop her cup on the floor with a clatter. “It is time you got some rest.” She gently manoeuvred the young woman to lay down on the sofa. “Do not argue. Remember you said you trusted me.” She forestalled the protest rising in the young woman. “We shall talk more tomorrow,” conjuring a thick tartan blanket she laid it over the woman drifting off to sleep. “Now sleep well, I will not leave your side.” 

Hermione’s slipped eyelids were fully closed, Minerva looked down on her slumbering figure. As the first vestiges of the perpetual nightmare began to form in the young woman’s mind, her subconscious felt the small thud of 4 paws land on her chest and as her fingers came up to stroke through the smooth hair, a gentle purr began to emanate from Minerva McGonagall and she curled up on the young woman’s chest ready to have the first good night’s sleep she would have in 3 weeks. They would be okay, they would get through this.