Sibling Rivalry

“Harry! Hermione!”

Ron and Ginny opened the door to see them and ran to them. Ron put Hermione into a crushing hug, as Ginny hugged Harry. When they pulled back, they switched. When they broke apart, they lead Harry and Hermione back to the Burrow. They made sure not to hold hands. George walked up to them and hugged them, but ran off, telling them that he had to check up on his invention before it explodes. The first question that they received was if they found their parents.

“Yes, we did, but they wanted to stay in Australia.” Hermione replied. Part of her wanted to say that Harry found them first, but didn’t want to look suspicious.

“I found them first!” Harry teased triumphantly. At first, Hermione felt saddened by him rubbing it in her face, but realized that it was all a part of their plan. He was teasing her like when they were only friends. However, she was quite sure that Harry wouldn’t have said that, together or not.

Ginny gasped. “Harry, your scar’s almost gone!” Ron looked at it and his eyes widened. “Whoa! How did that happen?”

“Magic. It’s just a regular scar, now.” They looked at his forehead silently for a few seconds, as if looking at a large and colorful mural dedicated to Merlin.

Ron then looked away and asked, “Well, what you get us?”

“We’ll give you the gifts and answer more questions when we’re done packing.” Hermione said, sliding the purse down her arm. She turned it into a green suit case, and Harry started lugging the suitcase upstairs.

They all followed Harry through the hallway, and Ginny asked, “Why aren’t you using magic?”

“So I can get stronger,” He grunted from the weight. “I think magic is making me lazier,” He joked. “I think using less magic will be good for me.”

Ron paled. “I don’t know how you do it. Who could go without using magic?”

“I went without magic for ten years, Hermione for eleven. I didn’t say that I’m not going to use magic anymore. I’m going to have to, won’t I?”

“What do you mean?” Ginny asked.

Harry ran a hand through his messy hair for a few minutes while still lugging the suitcase through the second set of stairs. “I’m going back to Hogwarts,” He finally said.

Ron paled even more. Why would Harry want to go back to Hogwarts? Whatever the case, if he already told Hermione about this, she would undoubtedly have no more doubts about returning. They would have a whole year together, alone. Hermione probably asked Harry to come to Hogwarts, so she would be alone with him. Ron started thinking if he himself wanted to go back to school, if he would still have a chance with Hermione. He wouldn’t do that. Why would he want to go back to school to get hassled by her to take his NEWTS? If Hermione kept making him study and learn and all of that nonsense, he didn’t think it was worth it. He would wait until they were out of Hogwarts. Maybe Hermione would know by then, that she only had a crush on Harry, but she loved Ron. Otherwise, he’ll just have to go back to drastic measures.

“You’re going back?” Ginny asked, perplexed. “Why?”

Harry waited until they got off the stairs and in the hallway to speak. “I just want a care-free year there, for once. The Dark Tosser’s dead, and I no longer have a ‘wanted’ label on my head. I’m pretty sure that Hogwarts will be open again. I’m going to do this year right.”

“Good luck with that.” Ron scoffed. “I know Hermione’s going, and she’ll be dogging you all year. Probably a lot more, since you got NEWTS this year. I’m certainly not going.”

Harry only smiled as he unzipped the bag a little. “I’ve survived everything else. I’m sure the NEWTS won’t kill me.”

“But Hermione will if you fail.” Ginny said as Harry pulled out a small bag. Hermione playfully scowled for a moment at her, but then grinned, and finally yawned. “I don’t think I have the energy to unpack. I think I’m going to do that in the morning.” She said. “Good night, Harry. Night, Ron. Come on Ginny, I’ll try to tell you all that I can before I knock out.” she then left the room with Ginny following, with an unfathomable expression on her face. Hermione didn’t plan on sleeping or unpacking at all. She had to get this out of the way first, and she could pretty much predict the outcome.

Harry looked up and said, “Night, Hermione, night Ginny,” with Ron following a second later, not looking up at all. He seemed to be deep in thought about something. It was a very alien look for him. Harry took out a small plastic bag and placed an engorgio charm on the bag, making it the size of a fairly large garbage bag, and opened it. He placed the bag on the floor for Ron to see and zipped back up the suitcase. If Ron had been paying more attention it would seem obvious that Harry had no intention to unpack.

Ron finally looked into the bag to see a bunch of stuff. It must have been the souvenirs that they brought back. Ron was amazed at the muggle items inside of the bag. He saw a bunch of pots and pans, probably for his mum, a weird looking hat and a pair dark tinted glasses, a big recipe book of Australian foods, and some tee shirts and other clothes. He also saw a refrigerator magnet that said, ‘I wen to Australia and all I got was this stupid magnet.’ Ron didn’t understand the joke. The magnet clearly wasn’t the only thing that Harry bought.

When Ron was done probing the bag, Harry decided that he should continue his plan. He took a few deep and quiet breaths.

“So, Ron… what’s been happening while we were gone?”

“Huh… oh, what?” Ron finally said after looking up. “Um… nothing much. The Death Eater trials are almost done. They gave a few people the Kiss, including Rodolfus Lestrange, Dolohov, and Nott.” Harry absently thought, ‘I’ll make sure to tell Hermione about Dolohov’ while Ron continued. “They put the rest of the inner circle – the ones with the dark mark – through the veil, since they killed a lot of people ’cause they wanted to. You-Know-Who put the mark on those who likes to kill and does it a lot, and those who followed him without question, not out of fear, but because they wanted to be powerful.

“Anyway, I know you’ll be happy about this: Umbridge and everyone just as bad at her in the ministry was sentenced to life in Azkaban and Stan is back on the Knight Bus.”

“Serves her right,” Harry said with a small grin.

“Yeah, she did. I wish I was a dementor right now…” Ron had a dreamy expression on his face that rivalled Luna’s. Ron quickly snapped of it and grinned. He continued, “They hadn’t found the Ferret Family yet. They must be hiding at a really good place. Goyle Sr., Jr., and Crabbe’s dad was sent to Azkaban. Goyle was making a bloody fuss about it, saying that his son will avenge him, but that can’t happen, can it?” Ron smirked. Harry was about to tell him why he was smirking about a dead man, even if he tried to kill them. He shouldn’t have been grinning about that moment. He decided against it, seeing that he didn’t want to to have two rows with Ron on the same night.

“They gave every other Death Eater at the battle a trial,” Ron said, “and this time they used Veritaserum. Apparently they grew a brain since the last time. Everyone who was guilty got life in the cell, and there were some people who had a guilty conscience, so they were given a few weeks so they wouldn’t feel like they couldn’t live without ‘punishment for their past crimes’.” Ron snorted. “Bloody idiots if you ask me.

As you saw before you left, Diagon Alley was mostly fixed. People are still dancing around like idiots, but not as many as the first weeks.”

Harry nodded.

“Ron… I have something that I want to tell you. Can I see your wand for a moment?” Ron gave Harry a dumbfounded and curious look, but shrugged and pulled the wand out of his pocket. He handed it to Harry who put it in his pocket, the same side that his blackthorn wand was on.

“There are some things that I need to… to talk to you about.” Harry said, sitting up and casually sliding out the phoenix feather wand from the holster without Ron seeing it. “About what happened in the forest… when we destroyed that Horcrux.” Ron showed a flash of sadness on his face before it went back to normal. He nodded for Harry to continue.

“I just want you to know, that I made up almost everything that Riddle said, because I know it is still disturbing you.” Harry took a deep breath, and continued. “Mrs. Weasley and I aren’t on good terms, and we probably never will be, so she’ll never want me to be her son.” Ron nodded at this, curious to where this was going. “I think that you may be jealous about me being good at Quidditch and my more expensive brooms, so I bought you one.” He pointed at the red broom resting in the corner. It looked like it was used recently, and looked like it was in the middle of being polished.

“You’re going to get some Orders of Merlin, soon, so you might be richer than me.” Harry continued. Ron smirked, but felt a little regret. “You’re a war hero, now, so you’ll be famous.” Harry slowly said, knowing that he ran out of things to say. He had to tell him, now.

Ron grinned happily, thinking that he had the best friend in the world and stood up. “Mate, you didn’t have to do all of that. I’m really sorry for being a prat. I know that you deserve it, seeing that you lived with the Dursleys.”

He was about to walk over to him to hug him, but Harry put up is hand, indicating that he wasn’t finished. “There are some things that I couldn’t and won’t fix, though.” Harry said sadly. Ron was once more curious and his bright smile was brought to a slight frown. There was nothing else that Voldemort talked about except Hermione, and Harry explained that already. Unless…

“Remember when I told you that I loved Hermione like a sister?” Harry asked, sneaking under Ron’s slowly dropping arms and walked over to Ron’s bed, knowing that Ron can’t be too close to him. Ron might try to kill him. “I, err, lied. I, well, I really did love her… more than a friend. But I had to abandon that completely when I found out that you loved her, too.”

Ron’s eyes widened in shock. Harry loved her? Ron only thought that Harry used to fancy her a little. So his long-term plan… didn’t work? He immediately hoped that Hermione didn’t know and never will know. Not like Hermione would ever be with her. The love that he made for her was strong enough to last years. He would never let Hermione be with Harry! She would never be happy with Harry, even though he is rich. After all, he will be rich in a few weeks. Besides, Hermione would never do that to Ginny, anyway.

“And then,” Harry continued, putting his hand on the three wands in his pocket, but not so Ron could see. “I told Hermione… in Australia… and… well… she said she loved me, too.” Harry stammered as he watched and waited intently for Ron’s reaction. Ron stepped back a little, his eyes staring in disbelief. She lovedhim back? It couldn’t have happened. How could Hermione have broken the love between him and her? He had many feelings inside of him, turning from one to another rapidly: hopelessness… despair… sadness… misery … rejection … jealousy… and the feeling all melded into one single feeling… pure rage. Not even treacle tart could bring Hermione back to her senses if she was in love. Two wasted years… no wonder Hermione lasted so long away from him; she was in bloody love!

Harry saw his reaction. He saw his ears turn red brightly, and gulped. He wasn’t afraid of Ron—he could take the temperamental redhead easily—but he didn’t want to lose his first and best friend. He didn’t want to continue, but knew Ron had to know this. “She said… that she would always love you as a friend, but nothing more. So, now… we’re together. Please, tell me… are you okay with it?” Harry asked, a little hesitant. He prayed that Ron would say ‘I’m not okay with it, but we’ve been through too much to let a girl get between us.’ He would still choose Hermione over Ron, but he still didn’t like the idea of choosing.

Ron’s eyes narrowed dangerously. He started breathing heavily. He felt like he was betrayed even more by the fact that he bloody well wasn’t okay with it. He also felt… murderous. He ran up to Harry, ready to choke him, but Harry took out all three wands from his pocket and pointed it a Ron’s chest, stopping him. “Ron,” Harry started, backing up a bit, “I’m asking you if you’re okay with it.”

Ron looked at him as though he was the daftest person that he ever wanted to kill. “No, I’m not!” He said in a growl, finally getting his voice back. “Break up with her. Now. In fact, I’ll do it for you.” He ran towards the door, but when he reached it, a flash went past him and hit the door. The knob went missing, along with the hole it was supposed to be in. Ron looked back at Harry, ready to die trying to kill him.

“Ron, I’m not going to break up with Hermione. And I pray that she doesn’t break up with me. I just wanted to ask if you were okay with it. But since you’re not, there’s nothing I can do about it. Even if I did break up with her, she made it clear that she would never love you more than a friend. I thought we could still be friends, though.” He sadly tossed Ron his wand as a ‘we mean no harm’ gesture. He still couldn’t believe, that after everything they’ve been through, after all that Harry’s done for him, Ron would destroy their friendship because Harry was now with their best friend, who didn’t even like Ron back.

He placed the two wands back into his pocket. He still had no intention on hurting Ron physically, even though he would be emotionally wounded. He silently summoned his suit case to him and transfigured it into a brown leather watch and placed it on his wrist. The watch wasn’t working, but it was still a good disguise.

He didn’t notice Ron slowly raise his wand, as he was still hooking his watch. “I don’t think we’re welcome here anymore, so I’ll just—”

Diffindo!”

Harry looked up to see a jet of red light coming straight at him, and quickly moved out of the way. The spell blasted a watermelon-sized hole in the wall. The cool night air came in, but Ron was still burning with anger. Harry finished snapping the watch into place calmly, obviously expecting this from the redhead that was quickly losing ‘friend’ status, then looked up at Ron.

“Hermione can stay.” Ron growled, angrier than Harry had ever seen him. “If we continued dating, Hermione would have grown to love me. But you always take everything that I have!”

“I wouldn’t call Hermione a thing, Ron. She’s a girl, not a possession. And she broke up with you. I had nothing to do with her breaking up with you, except for the fact that she told me that she loved me since fourth year and never stopped loving me. And even if you two were still together, you can grow to love someone if you’re already in love, but it won’t be the same. Hermione would never be happy with you, because she loves me. I love her, too, which is one of the reasons I wasn’t happy with Ginny,” Harry said, pulling out his wand. He didn’t notice his back-up wand fall out of his pocket.

He took a step forward, only to see Ron stand back in front of the door.

“Ron, I don’t want to hurt you!” Harry yelled. “I just want to leave!”

“No one’s stopping you!” Ron growled again, his breathing hard but his voice full of venom.

“With Hermione !”

“That’s not going to happen!”

Harry sighed. “What makes you think that Hermione would fall for you again instead of look for me when I leave?”

Ron smirked. “I’m going to tell her that you left because you treasured our friendship more. You think that she and I belong together, and you shouldn’t get in the way of that. How does that sound? If not, I have other ways.”

Harry couldn’t believe that this was coming from his best friend. Ron looked like he would kill Harry just to be with Hermione. Harry formed a grin of his own. “The only way that would work is if I leave. But you’re going to have to either let Hermione come with me or kill me. You could kill me right now, but you’ll follow soon after when Hermione finds out.”

Ron’s eyes narrowed into slits. Before Ron could answer, Harry asked, “Why don’t we let Hermione choose?”

“No. I already know who she’s going to choose.”

“Exactly! She chose me! Why can’t you be happy for us?”

“You expect me to be happy for you, you wanker?” Ron asked, raising his wand again.

“Well, aren’t you? You’re supposed to be happy for me! You’re my best mate!”

Ron was shaking with rage. Ron’s wand sparked, his ears turned alarmingly red, and he angrily stormed, “Best friends don’t steal their best friend’s girlfriend. I’ve gone this far, and I’m not going to stop now! SECTUMSEMPRA !”

Harry saw the white slash slowly coming his way, as if time slowed down. He couldn’t believe that Ron was aiming to kill him. He jumped out of the way, but the curse cut through his shirt. He knew that it was time to go on the defensive and a little bit of offense, now that Ron’s ferocity was at his fullest. He pulled out his phoenix wand and silently threw an ‘ Expeliarmus ‘ at him, along with a ‘ Diffindo ‘. Ron jumped away, and in midair, loudly casted a “ REDUCTO !” Harry gaped at it for a moment. That is an extremely dangerous and deadly spell. He easily rolled away, and decided that it was time to go to the more harmful spells.

He sent a powerful ‘ Reducto ‘ back to Ron, who gaped at it also for a second before putting a shield up. The shield exploded in contact before blasting back to the door. Harry quickly shot a spell at the doorknob to make it reappear, hoping that it would have Ron knocked out.

But, Ron’s really as hardheaded as he lets on and immediately stood up after his head hit the door. He stood up and lunged towards Harry as he said “ CRUC —”

EXPELIARMUS!” Harry shouted at the same time, finally saying a verbal spell. A bright red beam shot back out at Ron and the wand blasted out of his hand onto the floor, almost through the hole in the wall. Ron was sent flying backwards.

As he flew through mid-air, the door crashed open, with Hermione and Ginny, wands at the ready. Hermione didn’t take the time to look, but aimed a spell at Ron, whose back was heading towards her.

Petrificus Totalus!” she quickly chanted. Ron felt rigid when he roughly hit the ground, and he couldn’t move. He watched in horror and disgust as Hermione ran up to Harry and hugged him, while Ginny followed to check if he was okay. They sat Harry down on the half of the bed that was still intact. They looked at the giant hole in the wall and the ruins that surrounded it. Hermione could see the magnet that she bought for Ron in at least four pieces. She angrily looked at Ron, her eyes in flames.

“Did you do this?” She asked as she took the curse off of him.

Ron sat up and grinned. “Impressed?”

Hermione’s eyes widened. Ron was really aiming to kill. “I would if you weren’t about to kill someone with it, especially Harry!”

Ginny walked up to her brother and slapped him—hard. “What the hell is wrong with you? I don’t care who stole who from whom, you don’t try to kill him! And Harry didn’t even steal Hermione from you, anyway. She was single!”

“But I was going to get back together with her,” Ron said angrily, rubbing the sore spot on his cheeks.

“And I would’ve said no!” Hermione screamed. She pointed her wand at the wall and placed Reparo charms around the place. She was fuming. Just because she was happy with Harry, Ron tries to kill him?

Harry walked over to her and put his arms around her when she put her wand down. “I’m alright… I’m not hurt, at least.”

“That doesn’t make it alright.” Hermione said, turning to Harry. “I guess we will have to leave, then?”

Harry nodded. “Yeah. I’m sure Mrs. Weasley would be even angrier.”

“About what, dearies?” They all turned to see Mrs. Weasley, who was smiling at them hesitantly. For some reason, her smile didn’t really seem… Molly-like. It just had an fierce edge to it. “Hello, Harry, Hermione. From what I have heard, are you two… a couple?” Harry and Hermione nodded, dumbfounded. Mrs. Weasley should have came up a while ago, after the curses and hexes and yelling, and wondered if she cared anymore, as if she still hadn’t gotten over Harry breaking up with Ginny and Hermione breaking up with Ron. What would’ve made more sense, Harry thought, was that she was still in deep sorrow over Fred’s death.

They saw a flash of sadness cross her face, then anger, replaced by a bright smile. “You two made it just in time for dinner. I will have to change the living arrangements later.”

“No, thanks, Mrs. Weasley.” Harry replied politely. “I don’t think Ron wants us here. I think we should leave.”

“Nonsense!” She quickly said. “Ron may not want you here, but the rest of the family does.”

“We really don’t want to intrude, Mrs. Weasley—”

“You won’t be intruding, dearies.”

“But Ron’s trying to kill me!”

“You bet your arse I am!”

“Ron, hush! Ron will not harm anyone in this house, now let’s go downstairs to eat. I saved you and Hermione some treacle tart.”

“Can we just take some to go?”

“You can just eat a little here.”

“…why do you want us to eat here so badly, Mrs. Weasley?”

“Because you are dreadfully skinny!” Mrs. Weasley said, a little irritated that they would keep questioning her.

Ginny narrowed her eyes at her mother. “Mum… are you sure that’s the only reason?”

Mrs. Weasley paled a bit. “Well… of course, Ginny.” She said, not looking at her daughter.

“Mum,” Ron said, “It’s no use… they’re immune… “

Ginny raised her eyebrows and looked at Harry and Hermione, their eyebrows also raised. “Mum, what is Ron talking about?”

“Well… Ronald must have a, um, slight concussion at the moment… I’m sure he’ll be fine—”

“I’ve heard enough, mum.” Ginny said, exasperated. She ran by her mother and ran down the stairs. She quickly followed.

Harry and Hermione looked at Ron suspiciously, now. Harry slowly came to a conclusion.

“What did she do to the treacle tart?”

“I’ll tell you if you break up with Hermi—”

“How about—” He picked up his phoenix wand and pointed it at Ron, who was still sitting down, “—I’ll hex you if you don’t tell me.”

“I’m not going to tell you.” Ron declared, as if the entire thing was pointless and they should all just drop it.

“Are you sure? You know, I know a lot of nasty curses. I’m sure Hermione would help, too.”

“Gladly,” She said as she pulled out her own wand and pointed it at Ron. “At least he won’t like me anymore.”

“You can cluck on and on about something that I will never care about and hex me to oblivion, and I’ll still love you.”

“And that’s the problem!” Harry yelled. “You never listen to her. Why do you deserve her love?”

“And after what you tried to do to Harry, why should I even think of you as a friend?”

“Because he stole you from me!” He said, as if that explained everything.

“I was never your girlfriend! It was one kiss and it was rather disgusting. Keep your tongue for yourself, for once. And Harry told me about what happened in the forest—”

“YOU WHAT?”

“—and it seems to me,” Hermione continued, as if she hadn’t been interrupted, “that you are jealous of everything that Harry has. I think that the only reason that you love me is because I love Harry.”

Harry’s eyes widened. It would make perfect sense. “Is… is that it, Ron?”

Ron stubbornly stayed silent.

“What the hell is your problem?” Hermione angrily yelled, walking back to Ron and grabbed him by his collar, effortlessly picking him up. Her anger with him easily outweighed how her muscles were straining at the moment.

Ron took on a dreamy expressions he looked up at Hermione. The slowly reddening face… the way her bushy hair seemed to float a little, making her look like a fiery angel… the pretty gleam in her hard, brown eyes… he leaned in.

And she punched him. Hard.

She made a sound of disgust, thankful for her quick reflex. He had moved forward and she did what came naturally. Harry noticed only a a second later, and it didn’t take him long to guess what Ron was thinking. So he gave a reflex of his own.

He kicked him. Hard.

Down there.

“What is wrong with you!” Hermione yelled at him.

“Harry! Hermione!”

They all turned to see Ginny, panting from running up and down the stairs.

“There’s… there’s a love potion in the tart!

“What happened to him?” Ginny asked as she finally saw Ron crouched up and slowly crawling away from them.

Harry and Hermione didn’t pay attention, as they were in shock. Molly Weasley… the only person who has ever treated Harry like a son… the one who made Hermione a surrogate daughter… had spiked their treacle tart, and probably had been for a while, with love potion. Now they knew why treacle tart was their favorite food.

Mrs. Weasley ran up behind Ginny. “That’s preposterous! I never put a love potion in there!”

Gunny turned to her mother. “I asked George to use a detection charm, and there is definitely a potion in the mix. I’m sure it was—”

But she was cut off by Ron, who had crawled over to Harry’s backup wand and pointed it at her, still wincing as his groin was still in pain. “SHUT UP, GINNY, SHUT UP! STUPEFY!”

Ginny quickly took out her wand and put up a shield. She had enough of Ron and his tantrum. A huge bright yellow jet of light burst from her wand and headed straight for Ron, who didn’t have time to even move to escape.

It was a gruesome sight, yet you couldn’t look away; the jet hit Ron fully in the face. At first, there was nothing. Ron aimed at Ginny again, trying to hit her before the spell activated. Suddenly, Ron dropped his wand and grabbed his nose, which looked to be… growing? He screamed and rolled over, as his nose kept enlarging. Something yellow and slimy slid out of Ron’s nose, and as it fell, it sprouted wings and flew around Ron’s face, waiting for its friends, who were rapidly coming out of his nose, causing Ron to scream in agony. They all flew around Ron, who was crawling back into a corner, nose bleeding, cowering in fear as he knew what was going to happen next.

The yellow bats grew feet with claws and flew to Ron. He was about to cover his face, but was hit from the side and was stuck rigid once again. He turned his eyeballs to see Hermione smirking, her wand aimed straight at him. He was in too much pain to feel sad that Hermione betrayed him, because the bats had reached his face. They clawed at his face and the others watched in both fascination and horror. After a full minute, Mrs. Weasley finally gained her courage and grabbed Ginny’s wand, making the bats turn back into bogies, thus ending Ron’s torture.

“Ginny, are you out of your mind?” She screamed. “I am trying to help you and Ron!”

“Ron and I don’t need any help, mum!” Ginny yelled back, staring her cold in the face. If anyone could take ‘s stare, it was her own daughter, who inherited it.

“Of course you do! It’s obvious that you love Harry and that Ron loves Hermione—”

“I don’t love Harry anymore, mum! I already have a boyfriend!”

“Harry is better for you!” She screamed.

This time, Harry interrupted. “So, you mean that you’re making me be with Ginny against my will, and Hermione with Ron against her will?”

Mrs. Weasley’s face softened a bit as she looked back at Harry. “You and Hermione will learn to love them, since that was ruined before.”

“No we won’t!” Harry yelled. “We love each other, and will never love anyone else more than friends!”

“Why do you think I have the potion? To help speed things along, of course!” This time, she yelled.

Ginny looked at Harry and Hermione. “See? I told you! I bet a thousand galleons that Harry only liked me over a year ago because of the potion. That’s also probably the reason Hermione started looking at Ron.”

Harry’s eyes widened. He suddenly realized what he really liked about Ginny. He smelled it in the Potions dungeon.

“Ginny… your… your perfume… “

“What about it? I hadn’t used it in a while.”

“Essence of love potion?” Hermione slowly came to the same conclusion.

Ginny’s eyes widened this time. She slowly turned her head towards her mother, who looked terrified, afraid that they were about to find out her secret. “That was the only reason Harry noticed me, wasn’t it? Mum… I can’t believe you.” She broke in a whisper, tears clinging onto her eyes.

“Ginny,” Harry said as he and Hermione walked over to each side of Ginny, Harry’s back to Mrs. Weasley, “I don’t think that the love potion made me like you. After all, it wasn’t love, was it? I do think you’re attractive, and I was a bit jealous of you kissing Dean, but it disappeared sometime along the way.” Harry hoped that he said something comforting instead of insulting. Ginny smiled a little, and Harry took that as a good sign.

“I know why, too.” They all turned to see George in the doorway, a small frown on his face as he saw his unconscious little brother and his livid mother. “I knew that when someone is jealous of someone being in love with someone else instead of you, that person uses love potion.

“The only problem was that drinking the potion when you are already in love makes you only ‘fancy’ someone. You never loved Ginny, you liked her. Hermione never loved Ron. She liked him. Did you think a lot about Ginny over the year, Harry?”

“Yeah.” Harry immediately answered.

George turned to Ginny, who was a little confused about the explanation. “Where was your perfume all year?”

“I gave it to Ron before he left. He said it would be a present for Hermione.”

“I didn’t receive anything from him,” Hermione said, somewhat baffled.

George smiled a triumphant smile. “Then I know what happened. That perfume is a one of a kind perfume, brewed by mum, only for Ginny. It’s called ‘Amorcia’, I believe.”

“Can I explain the rest, dear brother?” The voice of another Weasley came from the hallway.

“Sure, Perce.” George grinned.

The third eldest Weasley son strolled into the room. “I was listening the entire time. Those extendable ears—work of a pure genius. It is my opinion that since the perfume is one of a kind, and only Ginny wears it, it would be her distinct, custom smell. When you smell that perfume, who is the first person that you think about? Ginny, right? Well, to brew a love potion, one has to either mix a hair or saliva or any type of sample from the person that is to be loved, or… something of theirs that only they would own, something that they were especially known for. Something that would make them apart from everyone else.”

Harry, Hermione, and Ginny’s eyes all widened at once. They were all in silence for a moment.

Finally, Ginny spoke with a dark voice. “Ron… where is my perfume?”

But Ron couldn’t speak, as he was still unconscious.

Ginny growled and snatched the wand from her mother, who was making whimpering sounds. She stomped over to Ron and angrily chanted “Ennervate!”

Ron was shocked awake and instantly sat up, but Ginny put the wand on his throat, forcing him to lie back down. She said in a cold and murderous voice, “Where is my perfume?”

Ron stammered at first. They must have found out. “I-I ran ou-out o-of it.”

George, Ginny, Percy, Harry, and Hermione looked at both the youngest son and their back-stabbing mother in disgust.

Harry came to another thought. “So that’s why I wasn’t thinking about Ginny as much when Ron left?”

Percy nodded as George answered. “Yes. I don’t think little Ronniekins knows how to brew a love potion, so I think mum brewed it and gave a large supply to him before you guys left. If you add the perfume or Ron’s hair to the potion during your quest, and sneak them in the drinks, you won’t taste the difference. Mum and Ron had you two all along. I’m sorry, Harry, Hermione, Ginny. I wish I could have found out sooner. Fred and I had to get our cunning and trickery from someone, I guess. Now that I think about it, I wonder if she used it on dad.”

Harry looked at Ron, who had a tear in his eye. Ginny moved the wand from his throat and stood to full height. “I don’t want to be here anymore. We’re going to Grimmauld Place.” She said softly. She placed the wand back in her pocket and walked towards George and Percy. Harry and Hermione then looked at a crying Mrs. Weasley. They nodded and walked to George as well.

“Well, goodbye, so-called mother!” George said cheerfully. Ginny, Hermione and Harry were about to follow, but Mrs. Weasley stopped them. “Wait!” She yelled, a little maniacal, “At least think about it! You liked Ginny, didn’t you? Why not give it another chance?”

“I don’t like Harry like that anymore!” Ginny yelled. “Why can’t I get that into your abnormally thick skull!”

“Don’t talk to me like that, Ginevra!”

“I don’t care what way I talk to you anymore!” A tear formed in her eye. “I should have you arrested. Love potion use is ILLEGAL!” She yelled, and then her voice softened to a whisper, but the hardness in her voice . “But I can’t. The Dementors won’t have a soul to suck. So, goodbye, mother. I never want to see you again.” She turned and left without another word, but before she was out of sight, she turned back towards Hermione with an apologetic look.

Harry summoned his back-up wand from Ron’s grasp and put it in his pocket. With his favorite wand in one hand, and Hermione’s hand in the other, they strode towards the door, but was stopped by an angry Mrs. Weasley once again.

“I will not let you go!” she yelled. “You two are my children’s only hope for the future! You’ll thank me one day!”

“NO WE WON’T!” Harry and Hermione yelled at the same time, enraged. Harry tried to control his breathing, and spoke next. “Mrs. Weasley… thank you for everything you’ve done for me so far. Even if it was all to get me to be closer to Ginny, and Hermione closer to Ron. But you can’t control my future. I’m done doing what’s expected of me to do any more. No one is ever going to treat me like a puppet anymore. I choose who I love and want to love. Not you.”

Hermione looked up and smiled brilliantly at Harry. He was becoming very mature to stand up to Mrs. Weasley’s wrath. They went into the hallway and was about to reach the stairs, when a red jet of light went past their heads, zooming into the kitchen. Harry and Hermione turned to see a fuming Mrs. Weasley, who looked more like Bellatrix at the moment.

They immediately took out their wands and pointed them at Mrs. Weasley, their hands still clasped. “Why can’t you leave Harry and me alone?” She cried. “We’re just trying to leave!”

“I won’t let you.” She said calmly. “You still broke my youngest son’s heart, and even though she hasn’t accepted it yet, you broke my daughter’s heart also. I can’t let you get away with that. So what was it? I know that you have a lot of money, Harry. Is that why you left my son, Hermione? Because he was poor? We’ll be getting an Order of Merlin soon, so you could go back to him.”

Hermione sighed in exasperation. “Why can’t anyone believe that I love Harry because of him? I’m not in love with Harry’s money! I’m not in love with his titles! And I’m definitely not in love with how many bloody times Harry almost died in his life trying to escape mortal Peril! I… love… Harry.” She slowly spoke, as if speaking to a very small child. “You were like a mother to us. You were the only one Harry could think of as a mum.”

“Apparently, he doesn’t want me as a real mother!”

She then started blasting a flurry of colors at them. Faster than Hermione had ever seen, Harry quickly put up a shield and started throwing curses back at her. He knew that she was powerful, after seeing her kill Bellatrix. She was excellent at nonverbal spells, and she was fierce when protecting her children. One wrong move, and the couple might die. Molly may have been angry, but Harry looked like he was aiming for the kill also. You could see the magic growing around him, the sparks from his wand as he kept blasting curse after curse. Hermione looked at Harry for a split second and almost audibly gasped. Harry’s eyes were slowly turning from green to a bright red.

The walls cracked from the intensity of the hexes and curses. Hermione was growing weak from the spells she was casting at her. She was very powerful. Harry, on the other hand, looked like he was holding his ground. He was casting very powerful hexes, curses that Hermione had never seen before from him. Most of the hexes were nonverbal. Mrs. Weasley looked like she was weakening from the shield that was blocking his hexes. It started flickering as her legs gave away, as she kneeled down, but still threw curses at them.

Harry was about to throw a very powerful curse at her, wanting to end it, but suddenly, the shield fell and she slumped forward on the floor. She was breathing very heavily, so she was still alive. Harry and Hermione looked curiously at each other, his red eyes slowly turning back to normal. Usually, a shield breaks when a spell hits it. It doesn’t just weaken out and vanish.

They decided silently that they shouldn’t worry about it, she deserved it, and that they should go before she or Ron wakes up. They quickly ran downstairs and ran outside. Harry instantly thought of Sirius’s house, before turning on the spot just outside of the boundaries, holding Hermione’s hand.