Chapter 2 : Four years later
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Harry moaned in his sleep.
“Daaaaady!” He rolled over and slowly and opened his eyes just enough to see a pair of emerald orbs staring back into his. He smiled and grabbed his daughter under the arms, and threw her to the other side of the bed. She squealed and began to flail her arms and legs as Harry held her down and tickled her sides until she was out of breath.
“You know I don’t like waking up early!” Harry growled, tickling her one more time.
Lily giggled and looked up at her father, “Daddy you said you was gonna take me to Ron’s”
Harry laughed as he put on his glasses and glanced at the digital clock on his night stand. “Yea I did Lils, but not at five AM” he said squinting at the glowing red numbers. Lily looked at Harry confused, and Harry just shook his head, mentally laughing at the fact that four year olds have no concept of time.
Harry took a better look at his daughter who was now standing on his bed. Her red jumper was on backwards, and she was wearing one blue sock, one white with her Velcro Mary Jane’s that surprisingly happened to end up on the correct feet. “Did you dress yourself this morning?” Harry asked the little girl. She smiled and nodded quickly. “And did you see how you looked?” Lily thought for a moment, before shaking her head and crawling off the bed, running over to Hermione’s old wardrobe mirror.
The four year old stared at her reflection intently. A few seconds past before she turned on her heels and began walking back toward Harry and shrugged, “Is backward”
Harry swung his feet off the side of his bed, and lifted his daughter into his arms. He pulled a piece of her frizzy brown hair out of her face and sighed, “Hermione”.
“Who daddy?” Lily asked tilting her head to the side.
“Your mother,” he said plainly. As if he said it everyday, “You look just like her. Except your eyes.” Harry sighed and put Lily on the floor, before she pushed the topic further, “Let’s go fix you up. Then we’ll head out to Ron’s. But you have to eat all of your breakfast.”
Lily ran out of Harry’s room and into her own. Harry shook his head at how much of a morning person his daughter had turned out to be. She would give him grey hairs far before necessary.
“Uncle Ron!” Lily’s face lit up as she ran and flung herself at her redhead uncle.
“Hey Lils!” Ron said with equal enthusiasm. He loved having his goddaughter visit, if not for him, for his own son, who had just turned six and loved her company. “Look at you! You’re getting so big!”
Lily smiled and nodded as she kissed Ron’s cheek. Harry, who had followed behind the child a bit, walked up to his mate and pat him on the back. “Thanks for this Ron. I’m just going to be at Mungo’s for a few hours, and then I’ll be back.”
“It’s fine, never a problem at all. You guys are staying for lunch though.” Ron said, talking more to Lily than Harry, just to make her smile and nod aggressively, excited for Aunt Luna and Uncle Ron’s famous peanut butter and jelly.
Harry laughed, “Of course,” he walked over and kissed Lily’s cheek. “I’ll be back in a bit kid.”
“Daddy, why do you go?” Lily asked curiously.
Harry smiled with solemn eyes, “I’ll tell you when you’re older.”
Lily sighed and looked back at the tall red head who held her. “I’ll be five soon. Then he’ll have to start tellin me things.”
Ron followed the frizzy brown haired girl thorough his yard and into his house. Her tiny feet patted down the wood floor in the hallway and right into the living room where Luke was playing with building blocks, which were already high above his little blonde head. Lily turned to her uncle and put a single finger to her mouth, crouching down low and tip toeing toward the tower. Ron laughed a bit and followed her. Lily looked over her shoulder once more, as to be sure Ron was following and then in one swift move knocked down all of Luke’s blocks and crouched down behind the fallen pile.
Luke whipped his head around. “DAD! Why you do that?” Ron widened his eyes and shook his head.
“It wasn’t me!” He said bending down and picking up Lily. “It was this monster who is way too smart for her age!” He tickled her ribs as he lowered her to the ground. Luke’s eyes brightened as he ran over and enveloped Lily in a hug. This was returned with great happiness emitting off of Lily’s face.
Luke responded to the hug by throwing Lily into the coach and lying on top of her as she squealed and kicked trying to get out from under him. She eventually succeeded knocking him down to the floor. The two erupted in a fit of giggles, jumping on the couches and throwing round crème pillows into each other’s faces. Ron watched the two amused until his wife came over and stood in front of him with arms crossed over her chest.
Ron looked over his wife’s shoulder and hesitantly said, “Kids…err… stop jumping on the furniture. Thanks.”
Luna smiled and shook her head and in a dreamy voice said, “Ronald you make me wonder how you turned out to be such a good father.”
Ron smiled as he placed his hand gently on his wife’s swollen stomach. “Well I have some help.” He kissed her lightly. He sighed as he held his wife watching the little ones play. “Harry is the good father. He did all of that on his own.” He said gesturing toward Lily. “AND she’s a girl.” Luna laughed a bit.
“I’m glad we can help him. It has to be so tough.” She said staring out into the distance.
“I’m sure things will work out. I hope anyway.” Ron said letting go of Luna and walking over to the picture of him in 5th year, on arm around Harry, the other Hermione. “I hope.”
“Um, hey Hermione,” Harry said walking into the hospital room at St. Mungo’s.
Hermione glanced up from her book and sat up in her bed, adjusting her white hospital gown. “Hello Harry.” Harry walked over to her bed side and leaned down and kissed her cheek.
“Do you…” Harry started, “um, do you remember anything?” Harry turned and looked into Hermione’s eyes. That was the first thing he always asked her. And he always knew what the answer was going to be, but he still asked. Hermione looked back into his eyes and shook her head no.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered tilting her head down.
“Don’t worry,” Harry smiled, “You’ve only been conscience for a week or so. I’m sure you’ll remember over time.” Harry sat next to Hermione’s bed side, and smiled down at her. He was beyond glad to have her back, even if he didn’t quite have her back. For a bit over three years the woman he has come to love has been in a deep sleep. The longest coma the doctors at Saint Mungo’s have seen in a long time. A bit over a week ago, Hermione finally opened her eyes
“Hermione, oh my god Hermione!” Harry said coming to her bedside, Ron coming in next to him.
“Harry? Ron? You two look… different” she whispered.
“I know Hermione it’s ok. Oh Hermione you’re ok,” Harry said.
“You’re awake! You’re … oh Merlin.” Ron paced around Hermione’s bed.
“Harry,” Hermione asked, “Did you kill him?” she looked at him with distant brown eyes.
“What?” Harry asked confused, “Who?”
“Voldemort,” Hermione said very matter-of-factly.
Harry looked at Hermione confused, “Hermione… what year is it?”
“1998”, Hermione said tentatively. The doctors in the room looked at each other. Harry looked toward them a bit shocked.
Ron tentatively looked at the doctors and Harry before finally uttering, “Um Hermione… it’s…it’s 2005.” Hermione looked at Harry. “The doctor’s won’t tell me anything,” she said quietly.
“They don’t want to send a shock to your system. They want to bring your memory back a bit at a time,” Harry explained, “And they don’t think magic will help. They don’t want you to be hit with any huge news just yet.”
Hermione sighed. “You’ll tell me about my life won’t you?”
Harry smiled, “The little stuff Hermione. You’re health…”
Hermione looked at him and laughed a bit, “I only have one question. For now.” She paused, and took her wedding ring off her finger studying it, “It was on my finger when I woke up. Harry… Am I married?”
Harry paused for a moment, considering what the doctors told him, and slowly nodded, as to keep her calm.
Hermione smiled at the ring and asked, “When did Ron propose?”
Lucas laid his head on his mother’s stomach as they sat on the couch watching a silly show on the telly. Lily pulled a chair up to the counter in the kitchen, and climbed up onto it, putting her elbows up onto the island directly across from Ron, who stood and ready the Daily Prophet. Ron looked over the paper to see the little girl with her head leaning on her fists, brown curls falling over her eyes.
“Hey babe,” he said folding up the paper and placing on the counter, “What’s wrong?”
Lily shrugged, her brown curls falling into her face. She grabbed an orange from the basket on the counter. She rolled it over to Ron, who promptly rolled it back her way. She giggled as the fruit came into her hands, and back out, again and again and again. Ron rolled to her hands a bit too hard, and it fell off the counter and hit the ground, splattering over the tiled floor. Luna’s head shot around from the living room and looked over at the orangey mess, then the Lily and Ron’s faces of innocence. She smiled then laughed, “Clean it up!”
Lily giggled and scooted her little feet away from the orange guts that sat on her chair, not wanting to get them on her white stockings. Ron smiled. He lifted Lily to stand on the counter so he could get to cleaning up the mess. As Ron grabbed his wand from the table and cleaned up the little juicy puddles, Lily watched Lucas cuddle up with Luna on the sofa. She slowly sat cross legged on the counter, careful not to fall. She watched the way that he put his tiny hand on her stomach, the way she ruffled his hair, the way she kissed his nose, and the way he held onto her.
“Uncle Ron.” Lily looked toward Ron as he put his wand back on the table, “Why don’t I have a mum?”
“I’ll be right back Hermione.” Harry raced out of Hermione’s hospital room and into the hallway. He took two steps out of the room and took a huge breath, suppressing the cry in his throat. His wife, the woman he loved most in this world, didn’t even remember him as anything more than best friend. He leaned against the wall, forehead and forearm against the cold white bricks.
Harry felt a tap on his shoulder and turned around to see Hermione’s nurse, Cecile. “Is everything ok Mr. Potter?” Cecile and Harry had grown close over the few years Hermione had spent at St. Mungo’s. She would often talk to Harry when he visited, talking to him because the one he was visiting couldn’t. She often asked about Lily during their short conversations, and always told Harry about any new updates on his wife’s condition. Once he went over her house for thanksgiving dinner with her husband and then eight year old twins, because the Weasly’s were going to Romania for the holiday, and Harry was planning on celebrating alone. He thought about reminding her to call him Harry, but remembered that she wasn’t allowed to in her professional workplace. He looked over his shoulder at the petite olive skinned woman.
“She doesn’t remember being us. She thinks she’s in love with Ron. I… I don’t know what to do.” He stuttered. Cecile looked at him with sad eyes. “Do I tell her? Do I let her think she’s still in love with my best friend, who’s married and has a son and another baby on the way? Or do I tell her she’s married to me, risking her health, possibly sending her into shock? What if she hate’s me after that? What if she wants nothing to do with me ever again?”
“Harry,” Cecile whispered putting her hand on his shoulder, “She can’t hate you. Deep down she’s still your wife.” A long silence was held between the two. Cecile peeked into Hermione’s room. She bit her lip, and then looked up at Harry. “Tell her how much you love her, how much she means to you. Maybe she’ll remember.”
“But what if she…”
“Mr. Potter I give you permission to tell her this. I’ve been monitoring her status, nothing will happen. I promise.”
Harry looked down the hall at the exit to the hospital, contemplating what he’d do next. He could go in and pour his heart out to his wife all over again. The way he did after nearly dying in the battle. The way she told him she felt the same in tears. He wanted her to remember how he held her as she shook violently; still disbelieving that he was still alive.
Hermione turned around, face burning red and streaked with tears. She stared at him in disbelief before wiggling out of Ron’s grasp, and running into his. She sobbed into his chest and he buried his face in her hair. Moments passed as the two held each other close. Harry pushed Hermione off a bit, just enough to look into her eyes.
“Hermione I’m done pretending,” he said wiping tears from her eyes.
“Harry what do you…” Harry put a finger to her lips.
“Hermione I’m done pretending everything is how it should be. I let everything be how the world wanted it, thinking I wouldn’t be around much longer anyway.”
“Harry you…” he shushed her again.
“Hermione I’ve been pretending to be ok with everything happening between me and Ginny and you and Ron, but Hermione what I’ve wanted most, for a long time now, is this. You and me. You in my arms looking into your eyes. But I wanted you to be happy, and if something happened to you I could never forgive myself. I still want you to be happy, so tell me Hermione, what do you want? Because I need to know.”
Hermione looked into Harry’s eyes and nodded, “Harry I… I…,”
Harry cut Hermione off by placing his lips on hers, the Great Hall erupted in applause as they realized what was happening. When they broke apart Harry looked back down at Hermione, she began crying and said, “I love you Harry Potter.” She flung herself into his arms. He could tell her about his favorite memory, the one that pulled him through the toughest day of his life. He wanted her to be happy. Would she be now? He could easily let her think what she wants, and let her be happy. He looked at the exit again. He could leave right now.
He took a deep breath and made his way into his wife’s room. Cecile stood just outside the door listening closely.
“Hermione? We need to talk.”
“What?” Ron asked softly. Luna turned around looking over the couch again, carful not to disturb the now almost asleep Lucas.
“You have a mum. Daddy used to have a mum, he tells me bout her lots. Luke has a mum and the baby is gonna has a mum. Victoire has a mum. Fred and Roxy has a mum. Everybody gots a mum.” She looked up at her uncle with sad eyes, “Why don’t I?”
Luna had a delicate hand over her mouth, shocked by the question. Ron looked at his wife, mouth agape, unsure of what his answer should be.
“Hermione listen…” Harry began, before he was cut off by his cell phone. “MERLIN!” He pulled it out of his pocket.
“Is everything ok?” Hermione asked biting her lip.
“Yea,” Harry smiled, “I’m regretting ever getting this thing. Mr. Weasley insisted.” Harry rolled his eyes and answered the call.”
“Ron I’m kind of busy.”
“Sorry Harry, but… I don’t know what to do.”
“What is it Ron?”
“Oh my god is something wrong is she ok?” Harry asked panicked.
“Harry, HARRY!!” Ron yelled calming him down, “She’s fine. She’s just… she asked us why she doesn’t have a mother.”
Harry froze in his path, “Why… what happened? Why would she?”
“I don’t know Harry. She’s smart. She realized she’s missing someone. What should I tell her?”
Harry looked at Hermione watching him concerned. He sighed, “Tell her I’ll talk to her later. I need to think things over. Ok… yea. Bye Ron.”
“What was that about?” Hermione asked.
“It’s about my… friend.” Harry said. “You’ll have to meet her one day. I’m sure you’ll love her.”
Ron held the sleeping Lily close to him. He kissed the top of her head.
“One day you’ll know Lils.”
“What were you saying before Harry?” Hermione asked.
“Right.” Harry said running his hand through his hair. He sat down next to her bed and took a deep breath. He slipped his ring off his finger and placed it in Hermione’s hand.
She took it confused, and then studied it closely. “Oh my god,” she whispered as she read the inscription that appeared on both her and Harry’s rings.
Redefining the odds. HJP xox HJP Forever and for always.
“Like I said, we need to talk.”
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