“Where were you two?” George asked them the second the slightly tired but couple walked in through the front door.
“Molly attacked us.” Harry said grimly.
George, Ginny, and Percy gasped.
“She shot at us just like when she killed Bellatrix. I think she was aiming to kill.” Hermione said, catching her breath.
Harry pulled her closer to him and looked at the Weasleys. “Thank you, guys.” He said sincerely.
“No problem.” George said sadly, trying to get over the fact that Harry and Hermione were attacked by his own mother. “It’s the least we could do after all the stuff you did for us.”
“I still can’t believe that Ron and Mum would do something like that! It’s so…Slytherin!” Ginny exclaimed, pacing around the living room of Grimmauld Place.
Unfortunately, her outburst created another outburst. “ YOU DARE ENTER THE ANCIENT AND NOBLE HOUSE OF BLACK?! YOU BLOOD TRAITORS!!! FILTHY SCUM LOVERS!!! ”
They all groaned and Harry had already run upstairs to the old hag in the portrait. “Hey, Mrs. Black! Did you know I killed Voldemort?”
“Yeah, it’s true,” Harry casually said as they all reached the stairs and looked at Harry talk to the portrait, smirking. “He never stood a chance, really. Once again, he tried the killing curse on me and it deflected back on him. But this time…he won’t come back. We made sure of that, didn’t we dear?”
Hermione smiled. She walked over to Harry and smiled at the portrait. “Yes, we definitely made sure of that. Voldemort will never be alive again. Harry killed him just three and a half weeks ago.”
George and Ginny saw that they were taunting her and joined in the fun. George started. “There was a huge battle at Hogwarts. Our crazy mum killed your crazy niece, Bella!”
“And your other niece, Cissy, is on the run for the rest of her life.” Ginny said.
“Also,” Harry continued, “Narcissa saved my life. Without her, Voldemort would be alive and killing muggles and muggleborns.”
Mrs. Black was so still from shock and mortification, she could pass for a muggle portrait. Harry walked up to the curtain and pulled it over the portrait. She let him without a fight.
“So,” Harry continued, “do you think Ron or Mrs. Weasley would ever forgive us?”
George laughed. “I doubt it. I think we should stay here until we find somewhere to live in that mum doesn’t know about. You guys should sleep with one eye open, and put as many charms and shields around the room as you can.”
“We already put charms around the house,” Hermione said.
“So…did you find your parents?” Percy asked, and Harry was a bit surprised; this is the first time he’s ever heard Percy in a concerned tone.
“Yes.” Hermione answered.
“Where are they, then?” George asked.
“They decided that they should stay. Sort of like a vacation.” Harry answered.
“It’s safer there anyway,” Hermione said. “Now that we know their address, we can place them in the floo connection.”
They nodded and bid them good night, relieved that Hermione had found her parents, but sad that they hadn’t had a proper welcome party.
Harry and Hermione went back downstairs and sat on the sofa. “Do you think Ron will ever…you know…forgive me?” Harry asked sadly.
“Harry,” Hermione started quietly, “ we should be the one forgiving him , if we ever do.”
“I know…it’s just that…I kept reassuring him in the forest that I loved you like a sister. He looked so happy when I told him that.”
“That’s because he knew that I liked you. He just wanted to get one thing that Harry Potter didn’t have.”
“Or,” Harry surmised nervously, “he really did love you.”
“I guess he’s going to have to learn how to move on.” Hermione replied as she wrapped her arms around Harry, as if to show that she’s not going anywhere, and didn’t need to think about it. Harry smiled, even when he didn’t want to. He just said that he would choose Hermione over his best friend, but he still wished he could have chosen both. He put his arm around Hermione, and they each enjoyed being wrapped in each other’s arms. After a few minutes of watching the fire in the fireplace that one of the Weasleys lit before they arrived, Hermione spoke again.
“The plan would’ve gone with ease if it weren’t for Ron trying to kill you.”
Harry sighed. “Probably.”
Harry and Hermione were walking down the street, looking for a place to dissapparate. Harry started telling Hermione his plan.
“Here’s what I think we should do. Stop me if you don’t think it would work. We go into the house and act completely normal, like we’re only friends. When they ask about three questions, we’ll go upstairs and claim that we’re tired. Naturally, Ginny will follow you, and I go to Ron’s room with Ron following. You say that you want to pack in the morning because you’re too tired. You ask for Ginny’s wand. We explain the entire…situation, you could call it. I’m very sure that Ron would be mad at me, and I’m not sure about Ginny’s reaction, but we should ask them if they’re okay with it.
“If, by some miracle, they both say yes, we’ll explain that Mrs. Weasley probably doesn’t want us around anymore, so we’ll be at Grimmauld Place until we can find another place, one that she doesn’t know about. If Ron is mad at me…then…er…I won’t give his wand back. If I see signs of him getting mad, I’ll keep it until we get to Grimmauld Place and owl it to him, if I ever get a new one. How does that sound?”
Hermione nodded the entire time in surprise. That was a simple plan, and well thought out. “It’s a very good idea.” She said. “It might work. But what if Ron goes…nutters?”
Harry chuckled a little. “I hope not. I hope he doesn’t forget the wand and punch me in the nose.”
“Maybe I should’ve kept the wand.” Harry said absently. “He looked to be in too much shock when I told him. I thought he wouldn’t explode until we left.”
“Harry, we didn’t know he was going to act like that.” Hermione said as she started to rub his arm. “I only expected a lot of yelling and a possible fist being thrown.”
“I think I did expect him to attack me, but not with deadly curses like that. He pretty much saw his own boggart, though. Oh, how was Ginny’s reaction?” He asked, realizing that he was so caught up in Ron’s response, he didn’t know about Ginny’s.
“Well, she was a little dismayed by the fact that it only took a little more than two weeks for us to get together.” Hermione started. “I didn’t dare tell her that it was when we were on the plane there. She was a little mad because she thought that you dumped her for me. She said that she was the better girl for you. She is prettier, likes Quidditch more, doesn’t hassle you about tests, and would rather kiss you than hang out in the library.” She finished while looking down at the fire, overcome with sadness. Everything that Ginny said was true, she thought. “But I would definitely prefer to kiss you than read, Harry.” She quickly added after she looked up to see a frown on his face.
But that was only partly why Harry was frowning. “I can’t believe her…She said all that?” Harry whispered, enraged.
“Well, it wasn’t like she was telling a lie…I mean, I know you’re probably going to say that I’m prettier than her, but I do make you study a lot about tests, but only so you and Ron could pass. And she likes Quidditch a lot more than me. She’s better at flying, she knows how to play Quidditch, and besides you, she’s the best Seeker at Hogwarts.”
“Well, do you think I care if you don’t like Quidditch that much? I don’t even think I want a girlfriend who plays Quidditch.”
“What?” Hermione whispered in shock. She thought that since his two past girlfriends were Quidditch players, you could only assume that he liked girls who played Quidditch.
“Well, when I play Quidditch, I always get a painful memory from almost every game. Do you really think I would like to see my girlfriend in the Hospital Wing after every match, bleeding or missing the bones in an arm…or worse? I would like a girlfriend who isn’t afraid of heights, and knows how to control a flying broom…” he kissed her forehead, “like you. As for the ‘making me study’ part, if it weren’t for you, I would be returning to school for fourth year. You taught me pretty much everything that I know. And when I called you the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen, do you think I excluded Ginny?”
Hermione turned an alarming shade of red. “Well, you’ve never seen Ginny naked…have you?” She nervously asked.
“No, I haven’t.” Harry said reassuringly. “All I saw of her being naked is her belly button, which I’ve never even touched. Besides, I reckon you would still look better than her, unless she’s been wearing extra-tight bras and got a tan. I also love a woman who congratulates their friends for being with someone than get jealous about it. I’m pretty sure that I made the right decision, don’t you?”
Hermione chuckled and hugged him. “Yes, Harry, I think you did. And I definitely made the right decision, too.”
“If Hermione says it, you know it’s true.” He said to himself, making it loud enough for Hermione to hear. She placed her head on his shoulder and both stared at the fire for a few moments.
“Should we go to Gringotts soon?” Harry broke the silence in a low whisper, just in case Hermione was sleeping.
“Yes, but I think we should relax a bit, first.” Hermione said as she yawned. After she moved her hand from her mouth from stifling the yawn, she continued. “You could ask about the Potter estate. I’m sure that there is one. Have you seen the Potter Crest, yet?”
“No. Whenever I read about my parents, it only tells about how I got famous. Whatever little there was about them was that dad was a Chaser in Quidditch, while my mum was Head Girl. I think there might be more about them in the mansion…if it hasn’t been destroyed or if there ever was one.”
Hermione silently agreed. She also hoped that if Harry had a mansion, it wasn’t burned down by Death Eaters shortly after Voldemort’s first fall, or while looking for the Potters.
“Hermione…if I wasn’t spiked with love potion…would I have asked you out or something a lot sooner?” Harry asked.
“Well, it depends. When did you first like me?”
“I started thinking of you as more than a friend in third year. And I think I would have asked you out then, except for one thing.”
Harry sighed. “Yeah. I kept trying to think who I would choose. Ron’s friendship, or a possible relationship with you. I had no doubt, back then, that Ron would always be my best friend, but I didn’t know if you liked me. If I asked you out, and you said no, and Ron found out, he wouldn’t talk to me. Back then, we weren’t as close friends, so I was afraid that we wouldn’t be as close anymore.”
Hermione was listening intently to Harry, but her mind kept wandering, wishing that she could have thought of a few more hexes for Ron. “So the only thing that kept us from being together was Ron?”
“Pretty much. I realized my true feelings when we went to the Department of Mysteries. When you were hit by Dolohov, I realized that it wasn’t a crush…anymore. I knew then that I couldn’t live without you. That was when I fell in love with you. When you were in the hospital wing, I had some time to think. I decided that since Ron was my best mate, and I loved someone that he has never even been nice to, but supposedly fancied, shouldn’t he be at least a little happy? And I knew that we were very close, then, me and you, so if I asked you if you liked me, I knew you would’ve been truthful, and nothing would’ve changed, if not for the better. At least, that was my original plan.”
“Harry…you loved me since fifth year? Why didn’t you ever ask me if I liked you?” Hermione softly asked, on the verge of tears.
“Well, there were a lot of obstacles. My Godfather just died and I had to go back to hell for the summer. Thank Merlin I didn’t stay the whole summer, though. I was a bit afraid of what your reaction was going to be when I told you two about the Prophesy. Then, when I got the Quidditch badge, Ron was around me the whole time, talking strategy for the games and begging for the Keeper position. I may have chosen you over Ron’s friendship, but I didn’t want to ask you out in front of him.”
He paused and looked in her teary eyes, silently asking if that made any sense. She nodded in understanding, waiting for him to continue. “Then, when we got back to Hogwarts, I think we started distancing a little. I guess that was when the love potion was being used, or it was the book. Right now, I would say that I’m really sorry about the book, but Ron’s life was saved because of it.
I know how you like to be good in every class, but I also thought that you were a bit stubborn for not hearing me out when I explained about the book. I thought that was how you would always be in the future, and it didn’t look very appealing then. Looking back on that now, I realized that it was the love potion that brought you closer to Ron, distancing yourself away from me. Now, I realized that I should have told you what was in the book. We could have been working together with it, it wasn’t really dangerous. But the potion made me stubborn towards you, too.”
Hermione nodded at Harry’s explanation and held him tighter to herself. She did seem a bit stubborn all of last year. Suddenly, she came to another realization.
“Harry, when did you first think that you liked Ginny, or her perfume?”
Harry instantly replied, “In the Potions classroom. I smelled three things; A Broomstick, Treacle tart, and that perfume. I first started liking Ginny when we caught her in the closet with Dean.”
Hermione nodded thoughtfully as she absently said with little surprise, “I first realized that I liked Ron a little when I saw him attack Lavender. I think that’s why he did it in the middle of the Common Room, so I would be sure to see it.”
Harry nodded. “If I remember, Ron was the one leading to the corridors and stood aside as I opened the tapestry, making sure that I saw them. Do you think Ron had a jealousy potion for that part?”
Hermione had more tears in her eyes, and Harry brushed them off of her cheeks with his knuckles. She could not begin to feel the anger or express the pain that Ron had caused to her. She could have found happiness with Harry since fourth year if Ron hadn’t screwed with them. She also felt a little sorry for herself. If she had taken the hints that Harry had liked her before then, she would’ve confronted him a lot sooner. She definitely would have rejected Viktor if she had found out that Cho had rejected Harry.
Meanwhile Harry had relatively the same thoughts. To tell himself the truth, he had a ‘strange thing’, as he called it back then, for Hermione in third year. When he finally thought about forgiving Hermione when she went behind his back and told Professor McGonagall that he had been sent the anonymous Firebolt (from Sirius), he realized that she was only thinking about his safety. He knew back then that she was more important than any broomstick to him, but if Ron had shut his mouth, he would’ve apologized to her, and they would’ve been the best of friends again. Probably more…
“Hermione,” Harry broke the silence.
“Should we be worried about Ginny?”
“Well…I think we should put some protections around the room, just in case. I would say that she’s fairly mad at me.”
They sat there for a few more minutes, staring at the flames and hearing nothing but the small pops and crackling of the everlasting logs. They both stood up and placed a few shields and charms around the house, since the Fidelius charm was broken. Harry placed a strong ‘ Silencio ’ around Mrs. Black’s Portrait, in case she had another tantrum in the middle of the night. They both slept in Sirius’s room that night, getting the sleep that they desperately needed.
As they both slept in the same bed, wrapped around one another in comfort, the pair had the same thought together.
“Ron’s a git.”