That first night had been the hardest. Harry and Ginny’s insistence that he talk about it, when all he wanted to do was mull over everything alone, drove him mad. Somehow he managed to convince them to let him be for the time being.
He spent the entire night looking through all of his new memories. Some of them made him laugh, others made him blush, and most of them brought with them a sadness that he could not suppress. After the sadness, a new anger arose in him.
It was one thing to know that Hermione had married Malfoy after Ron had disappeared, that he had shared a relationship with her, that he felt an odd pull towards her. Now that he actually remembered their past, the betrayal was that much worse.
To remember how happy they had been, how much he had loved her. How excited he was on the day that he bought that infernal ring. It all hurt so much more that she had gone off and married the ferret. How could she ever have loved him and done something like that?
Though his heart broke for wanting to be near her, his anger took over. He didn’t care if he never saw Hermione ever again!
He'd spent the last two weeks at work with Mitzi and at home with his parents. His mum would fuss over him, but his dad was able to temper her enthusiasm most evenings. Mitzi, it turned out, was not such a bitch after all.
Well, she still was, but for some reason she had decided against being one to him. It was easy to be around her because she didn’t prod him for information about his past. She didn’t coddle him every moment of the day.
She would listen when he said something but would rarely add her two cents. It was starting to develop into a comfortable friendship, one that had no ties to Hermione Malfoy.
“Hey Pixie, I need you to summarize this case for me. Can you have it to me by two?” Sondheim, one of the Senior Aurors, tossed a file in Ron and Mitzi’s direction.
She scowled at him, but the Auror was already on his way and did not notice.
“Why does everyone call you that anyway?” Ron asked. He had itched to know from the time he first started, but only now felt that she might not kill him for asking.
“Nickname from an ex,” was all the response that she deigned to give him.
Ron was curious to know more, but did not press his luck. Almost an hour passed before Mitzi broke their silence with, “Captain thought it was cute. He insisted on calling me that and it stuck, even here. I wish people would just quit.”
At first Ron had no idea what she was talking about, or who Captain was, but it didn’t take him long to figure it out. ‘Captain’ was obviously her ex. It was a stupid name if you asked Ron, but with the middle name of Bilius, he couldn’t really comment.
“I don’t think people realize that that isn’t your name.” Her eyes narrowed and Ron tried to smooth over his comment. “What I mean is that I don’t think they know that it bothers you. Some of them have probably been calling you that so long that they forgot that you have a different name. Maybe you should correct them the way that you corrected me. I noticed you haven’t threatened to chop anyone else’s bits off. Maybe you should.”
“Yeah sure, a Junior level Auror is going to tell someone like Sondheim what to do. He'd think of a threat from me as nothing more than a joke. Besides, I have stopped trying; they don’t seem to listen anyway.”
“They might listen to Harry.”
“Since when does Harry Potter give a damn about what his fellow Aurors call me?” She shoved the file from Sondheim into her in-basket.
“Since he’s my best mate and I asked him to care.”
She looked up at Ron, her face still holding the same scowl that she always seemed to wear. Her mouth twitched slightly at the corner and then, to Ron’s utter astonishment, she smiled. It was amazing what a smile did for her face. She was cute, there was no denying that, but her permanent scowl had marred any of her appeal. The smile cut beautifully across her face, giving her a small dimple in her right cheek.
“You would do that? For me?”
“Sure,” he shrugged, “what’re friends for?”
She kept her smile in place the rest of the day. She didn’t even seem to mind when Reynolds called her Pixie seven times in one meeting. Her smile was so infectious that it caused Ron to grin as well, something he hadn’t done since his memories had returned.
“He’s left her?” Harry scratched at his head, mussing his hair up even more.
Ginny nodded, trying to keep the smile from her face.
“You’re smiling?” He shook his head at her in disappointment.
“I’m trying not to.”
He just stared at her, his eyes piercing into her own.
“Okay, I’ll stop. It’s just, well, now they can be together. Ron has all his memories back, Draco’s out of the picture, so there is nothing standing in their way. Is it so horrible for me to want them to be as happy as we are?” There! He couldn’t argue with that logic.
“Please stay out of it, Gin. I’m sure Hermione is in no state to run off with Ron, and Ron is definitely not in any type of state to run off with her. Let them heal. If it’s meant to be, it’ll be.”
“You are no fun,” she pouted.
“And you, Mrs. Potter, are having way too much fun at both your friend’s and brother’s expense.”
“I’m doing it for them, not to them.” Why couldn’t he understand?
“Did our little talk mean nothing to you? Just stay out of it. And if you don’t, Ginevra, I swear on Godric Gryffindor that I will punish you.” He looked stern, something that always got Ginny’s blood boiling, but in a very naughty way.
“Punish me will you?” She shot him a cheeky grin. “I’d like to see you try.”
“Oh, I won’t just try…”
Ginny let out a large squeal as Harry lunged toward her.
“You can’t…” She breathed out as she ran around the other side of the kitchen table. “Remember. I’m pregnant with your baby…”
He jumped on top of the table and dove towards her.
“You wouldn’t want to damage your unborn child.”
She moved to the left and swung one of the chairs into her place. Harry fell ungracefully into it.
“Ow! Come here you little witch.” He reached out for her and his hand clutched onto the hem of her jumper. He pulled her back and into his lap, where she plopped heavily onto him.
“Merlin, you are getting fat.”
She punched him in the arm.
“Sorry, what I meant to say was. You are looking mighty delicious, and if it’s all right with you I would like to spoil my dinner.” He bit lightly into her neck and she sighed easily into him.
“I’ll be good, I promise,” she whispered before he took her senses over completely.
“Ah, Mrs. Malfoy. I was wondering if I was ever going to see you again.” She flinched at the sound of her name, but stepped into the library where Linus was lounging with a book propped open in his lap.
“Yes, sorry about that. It’s been a rather busy couple of weeks.” She sat lightly on the opposing sofa. “I actually have some interesting news.”
He closed the book around his index finger and raised an interested brow.
“It seems that the memory charm has worn off.” Hermione tried to make her tone light, but hardly succeeded.
“Worn off? These charms don’t just wear off, my dear.” He reached towards an end table and grabbed a small red strip of cloth. He placed it gently into the book where his finger had been and lay the book down next to him.
“Now tell me, what really happened?”
She gulped and took a moment to decide exactly what she would say. “Well,” her voice was weak, “a couple of weeks ago…”
“About the time you stopped coming to see me.” It was a statement, and Hermione just nodded her head in recognition.
“Around the same time that Mr. Malfoy and I decided to end our marriage…” She looked up, but his expression hadn’t changed.
“Ron apparently got his memories back.” She breathed out the last bit, exhaling it from her lungs.
“Well then I guess you don’t really need my services do you? It seems you have it all worked out.” He made to open the book once more.
“That’s the thing. I don’t really understand it all. I mean, how did the ring know that the marriage was dissolved? We haven’t made anything official. There is nothing to say that he couldn’t come back and everything would be as it was. I just want to understand it.”
“While you were off on your little sabbatical, I happened to continue my research, though I wasn’t sure that you were ever coming back.” He stood up and walked over to his desk. “I found some interesting information. It seems that the bonds of the ring are invoked by blood and tears.”
Hermione flinched at the idea. Blood magic was very dangerous.
“Now, of course we can’t know all the exact details of how it happened, but my guess-and that is all that it can be called-is when Mr. Weasley was taken,” he pulled up some parchment from his desk and brought it back over to the seating area, “somehow some of his blood managed to get onto the ring.”
He placed the parchment into her lap.
“If his love was deep enough, the ring would have acknowledged it. Once the acknowledgement was made, the magic would have only needed to search for the recipient.” He looked up at Hermione once he situated himself back on his own sofa. "It found you. If there had been any tears, which I imagine that there would be given the circumstances, and those tears were also filled with love, it would have bound your love together.”
Hermione broke her eyes from Linus and looked down at the parchment that he handed her. It was an intricate love spell that went further into detail about its casting.
“But wouldn’t there be some sort of incantation? Something to trigger the spell to know that we wanted to be bound in that way? And if it was just the love spell that was cast, then why did the memory charm work as well?”
“Because the two spells are intertwined,” he said matter-of-factly.
“But then, why didn’t the love spell end when the memory charm ended?”
He arched an eyebrow at her, a gesture that was beginning to rile her. Then she blushed when she realized what she had admitted.
“It is simple; the love spell didn’t end because the love isn’t gone. Whatever you did to trigger the memory charm to end, it still showed acknowledgement of your love for Mr. Weasley.”
“What about the incantation?” She was searching now, trying to find some reason through all of the insanity.
“Why should there need to be an incantation when both of your intentions were clear?”
She rose, annoyed at his cool manner, so similar to that of Draco’s, yet so different.
“But they weren’t clear. I married someone else. I loved someone else.” She stomped her foot down.
“Did you?” There went his eyebrow again, it took all of her willpower not to rush over and tear at his face.
“Yes!” Hermione said, determined to have her say.
“Look Hermione, I am not going to pretend to understand what you feel, or felt, for Mr. Malfoy or Mr. Weasley. I can only tell you about the power of the magic behind this spell. It wouldn’t have been able to cast itself were your intentions not true. It would not have broken the memory charm had your love really ever faded, not that it was likely with that type of binding.”
“So is the love not real then? Is all I feel for Ron a spell? Did I put Draco through torture because of some hocus pocus bull shit?” She clasped her hands over her mouth; swear words had never fallen naturally from her lips, and never in front of practical strangers.
“Oh, no. The love is quite real. Like I told you before, the binding doesn’t create love, it enhances it; it ensures it. You didn’t fall under some spell. You love Mr. Weasley as much as you ever did.”
“So, blood and tears?” She thought aloud. Perhaps it was when she had cried over her divorce. Maybe her tears of relief and guilt had fallen onto the ring and triggered something. It was an idea. It hurt her to think that her own tears had betrayed her. That she wasn’t even able to fool a stupid ring, but she had been able to fool herself. That she had convinced herself that her love for Draco would somehow grow enough to outshine that which she felt for Ron.
Linus seemed to sense her inner turmoil and came to sit beside her, clasping her hands in his; a warm gesture from such a cool man.
“I know how difficult it is to want to do the right thing, to have your heart pull you one way and your head another. You’re a young and, if I may say, beautiful woman. Don’t waste your time on the hows and whys.”
“You’re no old man yourself.” Hermione blushed and focused on the pattern of the couch.
“I feel as if I am,” he said quietly.
They sat in silence. Hermione wondered what had happened in Linus’s past to make him so reflective. It was more than likely some girl, a tragic romance that ended badly. She knew all about those.
A/N: I know that there wasn't a lot of action, but I hope the information supplied made up for it. What do you think of Linus? I personally love him! I know a lot of you are Mitzi haters, anyone changing their mind at all? So, how did you like the explination of the spell?
Thanks so much to all who are reading and especially those who are reviewing, I love feedback, it makes my day.
To my totally wonderful beta Georgia Weasley, you rock my socks!