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Chapter 19 : Finally together.
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It was early on Sunday morning when Hermione Weasley answered the knock on the door to find her sister in law standing on the step, Ginny had not been to visit them since before Rose was born and Hermione would have panicked thinking there was something wrong with Harry had it not been for the small smile Ginny gave her.
“Is Ron home?” Ginny asked as she accepted the invitation into the house.
“No he’s at the shop, we needed the extra money,” Hermione answered feeling a little ashamed as usual, her husband of fourteen years was still a simple assistant at his brothers’ shop and they were even poorer than Ron’s parents had been, they barely had enough food especially with Ron’s greed, and Hermione had had no new clothes for the past five years and then it was just a dress that her mother had bought her.
“Oh well I can talk to him later,” Ginny said sitting down at the kitchen table.
Hermione made them a cup of tea while still wondering what had brought her sister in law to their home.
“We need to talk, I want you to do something for me,” Ginny said taking a sip of tea.
“Yes it’s been a long time since we talked,” Hermione replied feeling confused.
“I need to know how you feel about Harry, are you still in love with him? and I don’t mean do you love him as a friend?” Ginny asked quite calmly.
Hermione gave a little gasp, she did not know just how to answer Ginny’s question, it was some thing no one was supposed to know about, something she had kept suppressed and hidden for more than twenty years.
Ginny looked over the rim of her cup “I take it that means you are still in love with him,” she took a sip of tea “good that should make things easier.”
Hermione was speechless as she looked at Ginny, she could think of nothing to say at all, what do you say to a woman who seems to be happy because you are in love with her husband?
Ginny got up and began to put her coat on “I want you to make him happy, he’s been in love with you for so long, it’s time he was happy, and you too,” she said as she walked to the door. Then without any further explanation she was gone, leaving Hermione standing open mouthed on the door step.
Hermione was confused and a little upset with what Ginny had said to her, or more precisely she was upset that Ginny knew she was still so deeply in love with Harry even after all these years, she wished she could share her problem with someone, but she had no really close friend she could trust except Harry, and he was the last person she wanted to tell how she felt, she just knew she could not tell her husband Ron, they argued all the time as it was without telling him she was in love with his friend, and she couldn’t face the I told you so’s from her mum and dad who were both convinced she had married the wrong man, they had always maintained that Harry was in love with her, they kept saying they could see it in his eyes.
So she kept quiet about Ginny’s visit and by the following weekend it all seemed like some kind of odd dream she had had.
It was almost midday on Sunday when the strange owl arrived at the kitchen window, Hermione opened the window and let the bird in, she removed the letter tied to its leg as the bird drank the water she offered it.
Opening the letter she read the short note that was from Ron,
‘Hermione be outside the three broomsticks at two, don’t be late Ron.’
That was all it said, Hermione sighed and the things she was about to prepare for their lunch she returned to the various cupboards before making her self a cup of tea, picking up a book she decided she had a little time to relax before she needed to leave the house for Hogsmeade.
Harry Potter sat at one of the tables that were now placed outside the Three Broomsticks inn, he was just wondering why Ginny wanted him to be here of all places, and on a Sunday.
The small crack that announced the arrival of his best friend made him sit up, “Hermione, what are you doing here?” he asked pleasantly surprised.
“Ron sent me a note said to be here at two,” she replied as he looked down at his watch, it was ten minutes before two.
“So come sit down, how have you been, I haven’t seen you for two weeks and two days,” Harry said pulling out a chair for her.
Hermione was a little surprised that Harry remembered exactly what day they had last met on, but she was a little more surprised because she had added ‘and five hours’ to what he had said.
“Would you like a drink while you wait?” he asked knowing the look she would give him, it was always the same she would not be able to afford to get him a drink in return and she would protest about him buying.
Before she had time to argue with him he had ordered two butterbeers.
As they waited for their beers Harry studied the woman he loved so much, he was quietly annoyed at his once best friend Ron for never making anything of himself, the beauty who was sitting at the table with him was sitting in clothes that were not much better than rags, he remembered how well dressed she had been before she married the loser, how she had looked in that beautiful gown on the night of the Yule ball, the night he realised he was in love with his best friend, when they were young where ever they went she had always turned out looking smart and to him exceedingly beautiful, now she wore shoes that were worn out, he could just make out a hole in the bottom of one sole, her jeans were almost threadbare, and the jumper she wore was a worn and faded one of his that he had given to her during their hunt for the Horcruxes of Voldemort.
He suddenly found himself once again hating Ron just as he had on the day he deserted them, Hermione deserved so much more than a life of poverty, a life where she wasn’t allowed to accept a gift off her best friend because of her husband’s stupidity.
The thought that he would willingly leave his wife and his children to take Hermione away from the poverty Ron had placed her in, came into his mind once again, and once again he had to quell the thought, Hermione loved the loser and Harry Potter could never do anything to hurt Hermione.
Hermione watched from the corner of her eye as Harry looked at her, she knew he was looking at her clothes and she wondered what he was thinking, she moved just a little, slightly discomforted by the shame that once more filled her, here she was twenty years after helping to defeat the worlds most evil wizard, the so called greatest witch of the age, dressed in old tattered and worn out clothes, and they were the best she had, she was ashamed of being married to someone so stupid he still had the same job he took as a seventeen year old, she was ashamed that she had allowed him to turn her into a stay at home housewife, living in their dilapidated old rented house, she was ashamed because they were a month behind in the rent.
She suddenly found her self once again wishing that Harry had fallen in love with her and not Ginny, it wasn’t his money she wanted it was him, the Harry she had been in love with since she was just thirteen years old, the Harry she had fallen for while they helped Sirius to escape.
They were both dragged from their thoughts when a strange old man approached them.
“Mr Potter, Mr Harry James Potter, and Miss Granger, Miss Hermione Jane Granger?” the old man said with a question in his voice.
“Er, yes that’s us,” Harry answered as Hermione gaped, she hadn’t been called Granger for a long time.
The old man looked a little worried as he placed a small briefcase on the table, he then took out three envelopes, he handed one to Harry and one to Hermione before he closed his case and placed it on the floor between his feet.
Looking curiously at the official envelopes Harry and Hermione opened them at the same time, Hermione being the quicker reader was the first to speak.
“Oh lord,” she said holding her hand to her mouth.
“What the bloody he…” Harry said as he ran his hand through his hair.
“She can’t do this, it doesn’t make any sense,” Harry said looking at the old man.
“I’m afraid they can and have, Mr and Miss Weasley used a rather ancient and not to well known law, one that should have been repealed centuries ago, it’s the only law left relating to the marriage of a pure blood to a anyone other than another pure blood, it allows the pure blood to divorce their none pure blood partner when ever they want, and they also have the right to take any children, I’m so sorry Mr Potter, Miss Granger, oh I was asked to give you this,” the old man said as he handed the last envelope to Hermione.
He then picked up his case and walked away.
Hermione sat looking at the envelope in her hand, she was still trying to take in the fact she had just been handed her divorce papers, papers that made the divorce final when she read them, she was no longer a Weasley, the relief that swept through her was suddenly dampened by the thought she may never see her children again.
Harry recovered from the shock a little quicker than Hermione and he reached over and took the letter from her hand, it was addressed to both of them.
‘Dear Harry and Hermione, we hope that someday you will be able to find it in your hearts to forgive us for what we have done but it is for the best, you see we no longer love you and we know that you do not love us, oh you may well love us but not in that romantic passionate way that married people should love each other.
Harry I know that you love Hermione that way, I saw the look you gave me that day when she first kissed me, I also know you went to face your death because of that kiss, I have always felt guilty that I let my mother rule my opinions, and I was never able to stand up to her, I would never have taken Hermione away from you had I been just a little more mature. Ron.
Dearest Harry and my dear friend Hermione, I beg you not to try to find us, please, instead of worrying about us you should spend some time together, share the love you have for each other. Hermione I asked you when I visited if you would take care of Harry, I ask you both now to take care of each other.
This may seem like a cruel and nasty thing to do but it is for the best, don’t worry about our having custody of the children we will bring them to visit you during the holidays, again I ask you to forgive us but we both think that we all deserve to be with the one we love, I haven’t found my true love yet but now I am free to look as is Ron, we know that you two have already found true love and it has been us that kept you apart, for that we are sorry.
Well we will see you when we return with the children to England around Christmas, we both have jobs working for the same company, so goodbye for now, take care of each other and enjoy your love,
Ron and Ginny.’
Harry and Hermione sat in silence as they both thought through what the two Weasleys had said in their letter, after the third butterbeer, Hermione asked Harry what Ron meant about him going to face death after seeing the kiss.
He thought of denying it at first but he knew he could not get away with telling her a lie, he never could, not since they had first met she knew if he was lying.
“I was so in love with you, I was going to ask you to be my girlfriend if I survived the battle, but then you kissed Ron and my world seemed to fall apart, after that I didn’t care if I lived or died.”
“WHAT?” she growled at him “you saw me kiss Ron and you went out to commit suicide?”
“That is not what I said, I said I didn’t care either way, as it was I happen to have been sent back after Voldemort killed me, I don’t know how or why, I was, so I just sort of carried on living with out actually feeling anything, till the day you married Ron, after that I just wanted you to be happy so I did what ever it took.” He answered without raising his voice.
Hermione was about to yell at him again but a quiet little voice in her head said this is not Ron, this is the friend who has always listened to you, always been there for you, he doesn’t deserve all this from you.
“Oh Harry I’m so sorry, now you told me that I wish I had never kissed Ron, you see I thought you were in love with Ginny, those last few weeks in the tent, you kept looking for her on the map, I had no idea you loved me, I wish to god I had known, we could have been so happy.” Hermione sighed.
“No you are right I did keep looking for her, she was the last of the Weasleys at Hogwarts, the only real family I had apart from you. You know if it’s true and you do love me, we could still be happy, we could be the people we should have been,” Harry said looking at her hopefully.
“What about our children?” she asked tears welling in her eyes.
“Well if they were all still at Hogwarts when would we get to see them?” he asked hoping he did not sound callous.
“Christmas,” she replied.
“And when did Ron say they would bring the children to see us?” he felt a little hope grow in his heart as he saw her eyes brighten just a little.
“Do you really love me, since when?” she asked smiling at him.
“I realised it at the Yule ball, but I think I was in love with you before that, I think it may have been when you were petrified and I was so scared of living without you as my friend, remember when you recovered how you ran to me in the great hall and pulled me into that huge hug, I think that was when I gave my heart to you,” He answered as he leant forward and took her hand in his.
Still holding hands they left the Three Broomsticks and walked toward Hogwarts, they walked without even knowing where they were going to go or why, Harry realised just before they reached the school gates that they had automatically walked the same path they had always walked together when they were young.
Harry stopped walking and she turned toward him, “Now that we are free, Will you marry me Hermione? I don’t even care if you don’t love me like Ron thinks you do, I just want to take care of you, give you the things you deserve, I want you to be by my side as we grow old,” he said looking straight into her eyes.
Hermione began to chuckle and Harry’s face began to go red “You know what I was thinking when that old man appeared Harry, I was thinking that I wished it was you who had loved me and asked me to marry you and not Ron, so yes Harry if you want me I will marry you, and I will love you forever.”
Harry gave a huge smile that lit his eyes in a way she had not seen for so many years “So is there anything you want to collect from your house before we go to visit your mum and dad,” he asked sounding happier than he had for a long time.
“Just my trunk, it holds all that I own or at least all that I want. The only things I could not bring myself to sell, I still have every present you ever bought me,” she answered just before Harry apparated them to what until today had been her and Ron’s house.
Harry had dragged Hermione’s old school trunk from up in the attic and was standing in the kitchen watching as Hermione placed the few books she still owned lovingly into the trunk.
He felt sad as he watched her take her rings off and place them on the kitchen table, he took his wedding ring off and placed it with hers, the landlord would get more than his months rent for them.
Hermione looked at her meagre possessions, she had absolutely nothing to show for her years as a Weasley, she was leaving the marriage with less than she had when she had entered it but she did not feel sad, she felt free to now be happy, the happiness she had always known when she was with Harry all those years ago.
“I’m ready now my love,” she said as she took hold of his hand.
Harry wrapped an arm around Hermione and grabbed her trunk with his free hand, with a small crack they vanished from the house, and reappeared outside the Granger family home.
Harry let the trunk drop and for the first time in his life he pulled Hermione into his arms and kissed her.
Hermione felt like she had never felt before, her knees were shaking and huge hot butterflies made their way around her stomach before a huge fire flared up some where deep inside her core, within moments it had consumed her entire being, she could no longer think and she definitely could not breathe, two seconds later and her knees gave way altogether and she would have fallen to the floor had Harry not had her in his arms. it was a kiss that shook the earth for Hermione, a kiss that put everything she ever felt before to shame.
“Oh WOW!!!” she gasped as they broke the kiss in need of air.
“Blimey,” Harry said as he held her tight “Geeze you really pack a wallop in your kisses.”
Hermione was chuckling when her mother opened the door to see who was on her step, she stood staring when she saw Harry and Hermione in an embrace, love for each other glowing in their eyes.
After they had explained to Hermione’s parents what had happened to them, Harry asked if they could arrange a Muggle wedding for them, neither of them wanted any one from the wizarding world at their wedding, Harry even gave his aunt’s address so that she as his only flesh and blood could be invited if she wanted to come.
Mrs Granger agreed as soon as he had finished asking, she seemed so happy for her daughter to be finally marrying the right man.
The following morning Harry sent Hermione out to buy her self a complete new wardrobe, and anything else she needed, he told her he wanted none of the Weasley stupidity, he wanted to see the woman he had fallen in love with, the one he had longed to be with dressed in clothes that she deserved to be dressed in and not in the rags she had worn for so long, she was to spare no expense and he wanted her to return looking more like the old Hermione, he told her as he gave her his gold bank card then sat down to talk to her father.
When Hermione and her mother returned Harry’s mouth dropped open, Hermione had had her hair done and it now hung in waves down her back, and over her shoulders covering her breast, she was dressed in Muggle clothes that did indeed bring back the old Hermione, she looked ten years younger than when she had gone out, the simple white blouse was modest with just the top button open, around her neck was a blue silk scarf, she wore a blue skirt that flared a little from just a little below her hips, her long legs looked so sexy in the shoes she wore, blue with a 3inch heel.
Even Mr Granger said he had his daughter back at last, Harry had to agree, he had not seen Hermione look so good since before she married Ron.
Hermione admitted she had indulged her self a little and bought the things she had wanted but been unable to ever afford.
It was four weeks later that Harry walked into the little local chapel, he had his one real male friend with him as best man, Neville Longbottom, who was now a tall and imposing man chatted amiably with the Muggles they walked in with, he had married a Muggle and now lived and worked in the Muggle world.
As Harry made his way to the front of the chapel he was stopped by someone he did not recognise at first, a rather tall well built man with greying temples, offered his hand and then asked if they could talk after.
Harry was standing at the alter with the vicar and Neville when recognition of the well built man hit him, it was his cousin Dudley, not a fat grotesque and ugly Dudley, but a fit looking well built Dudley.
Harry forgot all about Dudley as Hermione entered his vision, she was walking down the aisle dressed in a long periwinkle dress that was not tight but fit her form well, showing her figure to be still that of a young twenty odd year old, in her hand she carried a small bouquet of flowers in the middle of which were her favourite flowers daisy’s, her hair hung naturally down her back and around her shoulders, she looked so elegant and beautiful one of his knees began to shake, he was about to marry the girl of his dreams, the one he once thought lost to him for all time.
Hermione had a smile on her face and a tear of joy in her eye as she said I do when asked if she took Harry to be her lawfully wedded husband, and when he said the same two words ‘I do’, she felt her legs turn weak, all she had ever wanted in her life since she was eleven years old, had been to be by his side to the bitter end, she had fought evil and all other kinds of things to be with him, and now she would be with him through all eternity, she knew that at last she was marrying her soul mate, the man the heavens had made just for her.
As Harry and Hermione sat enjoying the reception after their wedding, Harry’s cousin Dudley approached their table, he was accompanied by his mother, Harry’s aunt Petunia.
Dudley asked Harry if he could spare them a few minutes of his time, Harry being as happy as he had ever been in his life before, agreed to take a walk with his relatives, Hermione insisted on accompanying him.
Once out side his Aunt began to talk. “I’m sorry for the life I put you through Harry, I’m not going to ask you to forgive me, I know you never could, I just wish with all my heart I had done things differently, I blamed you for the death of my family even though it had nothing to do with you, All I can do is say I’m sorry,” his aunt said as they walked around the gravestones.
Harry was about to speak when Hermione spoke up “Mrs Dursley, your evil treatment left Harry physically smaller and weaker than he would have naturally been, but that was not the worst thing, your evil left him unable to show his feelings, he was frightened by physical contact, it took him years before he was able to hug someone, and for that I personally hope you rot in hell and you too Dudley.”
Harry held his new wife’s hand “So what do you want?” he asked his aunt.
“We want to get to know you if you would let us, it’s been twenty years since we last saw you Harry, oh and I’m glad you finally got to marry Hermione, I heard you scream her name so many times in your nightmares I knew you loved her,” Petunia said as a tear slipped down her face.
Harry asked where they lived now and about Vernon, Petunia lived in the same house, Vernon had died fifteen years before due to a heart attack, Dudley had married a witch named Mandy Brocklehurst, he had met her when they were evacuated during the war, he had a son who would be starting Hogwarts the following summer.
Harry then promised he would think it over before he made up his mind, he then hand in hand with Hermione walked back into the hall were the reception was going at full swing, Harry danced with Hermione and then he had a quick dance with his new mother in law, before dancing again with his wife.
That night in the house Harry had bought in Godrics Hollow they made love for the first time, it was the most amazing feeling they had ever had, they finally felt as though their bond were complete, it was as though neither of them had ever been married before. The lights flashed and streaks of lightening flew through the air around their new home that night.
Hermione was really surprised by how much bigger than Ron that Harry was, while Harry was totally surprised by the passion of Hermione who showed more passion in that one night than Ginny had shown in all the time he had known her.
They finally slept well that night, their wedding night, both of them knowing that the other half of their soul would be there with them for all time and beyond.
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