Harry wasn’t sure how to feel. He had told Hermione the truth, which was surely the right thing. He knew it was the right thing. But Hermione hated him. He was sure she hated him. Why wouldn’t she. He had, single-handedly, ruined her life! She could’ve moved on with her life, been happy, but no, he had to mess with things. He wasn’t so sure that he did love her, like he so claimed. Harry knew that wasn’t how you treated someone you loved.
Harry didn’t blame Hermione for the way she reacted. He’d hate him too. Actually, he did hate himself. He paced his study angrily. Why would he do this? Why did he do this? What kind of friend was he, to Ron? Why had he been so stupid when he was younger? Why couldn’t he see past his ‘popularity’? That didn’t matter! None of those people gave a shit about him now! Why didn’t he see at the time there were things that were so much more important? Real friends, for one. He should’ve been a real friend to Ron, rather than use him for his stupid, stupid idea. He shouldn’t have led Ginny on. Now Ginny was married to a man who didn’t love her and had never loved her.
But most importantly, he should’ve realised that his feelings for Hermione were more important that popularity. He should’ve said something to her then. He should’ve asked her out, taken her to Madam Pudifoot’s, snuck out after dark with her to a broom closet, not that he could see Hermione doing something like that. Apparently she did with Ron, though. He remembered Ron telling him, and the jealousy that went raging through him as Ron recounted their snogging session.
Harry felt his hands wrap around a small Snitch ornament that was in his hand and threw it across the room. It hit the wall, right next to the door, and smashed. He could hear someone running up the stairs before Ginny walked in, frowning. She leant against the door frame, her arms crossed, looking at the piece of the ornament Snitch.
“What did you do that for?” she asked.
“I needed to vent out my frustrations,” Harry replied, turning away from her.
“And what exactly are you frustrated about? It seems you’re angry about everything these days!” Ginny exclaimed.
“I’m frustrated at myself! I hate myself! I hate what I’ve done to everyone in the past, and there’s no way I can repent for what I’ve done! I’m an idiot, and I screwed up everyone’s lives. You all would’ve been better off without me! Even my parents would’ve been better off without me!” Harry yelled, sinking to the ground and trying to keep the tears away. Ginny was taken aback. She had never thought that Harry could actually feel bad for what he had done. She didn’t know what it was he had done that was so terrible. So, he had married her without being in love with her, she had agreed to it. Yes, he loved someone else, but that didn’t mean everyone was better off without him.
“Without you were wouldn’t have our beautiful children,” Ginny pointed out. Harry shrugged.
“They’d probably be better off without me, too,” Harry mumbled. Ginny sighed, and sat down next to him, putting her arm around him.
“Harry, what’s going on?” Ginny asked softly.
“Ginny, I did a terrible thing a long time ago, but it had ruined two people’s lives. Maybe even four. Actually, I could stretch that to nine, five of which weren’t even born when it happened,” Harry said.
“Harry, what did you do?” Ginny asked. Harry shook his head.
“No, Ginny. I can’t lose you, too. And I will if I tell you, I know I will. I know I’m a prat, but I do care about you. I need you, Ginny. Right now I need you,” he said, the tears starting to flow out of his eyes. Ginny was nonplussed, but nodded. If her husband needed her, then she would be there for him.
“Harry, you know I’m here. My vow was for better and worse. I intend to keep that promise,” she said. Harry laughed bitterly.
“You shouldn’t bother. I don’t deserve it.”
“Harry, you’re confusing me!” Ginny said, standing up, “You said you need me, but now you’re saying you don’t deserve for me to be there for you.” Harry looked up at her.
“I do need you. But you still shouldn’t bother,” he said. Ginny wondered what on earth could have made Harry think this way. She could only think of one thing.
“Is this anything to do with Hermione?” Ginny asked. Harry stiffened slightly at the mention of her name, and Ginny knew the answer. What had Hermione done to Harry to make him like this?
“What did she do?” Ginny asked. Harry shook his head.
“She did nothing. It’s all my fault,” he replied, wiping his eyes and standing up, “And don’t you start thinking it’s her fault. It’s all mine, and she will never forgive me.”
Hermione had thought that over time her anger with Harry would perhaps subside, but not such thing had happened. She had a brief moment in the mornings where she wouldn’t remember, but then something would remind her, whether it was the fact that she still wasn’t used to Ron not being asleep next to her, or Hugo coming into the room, or some other thing that reminded her, and then her anger would come back, just as ferocious as before.
Harry had ruined everything. It was quite simple. Yes, she had two beautiful children, but the two children were born because of a love potion! Neither of them deserved that! Both Hermione and Ron had deserved a chance to find love themselves, with different people, most probably, and they weren’t given that chance. Harry thought he was trying to help Hermione, but he wasn’t. He had just given everyone a headache.
She had talked with Ron a couple of times since it had happened. She had discovered than Ron not dosed with love potion was pretty much the same as he had been with it, just with a few differences. He did care for her, and she for him, and, of course, Hermione still loved him, though she was trying to stop. There was no point, especially since his love for her had never been real.
Both Hermione and Ron had pondered over whether Harry had told Ginny, but they knew that if he did, they’d have heard about it. Ginny could not keep quiet about these things, and she’d probably find a way to blame it on Hermione, anyway.
“Hermione, you deserved better,” Ron had said one day when they were having a cup of tea in the kitchen that was once their kitchen. They had been going over things for selling the house.
“Ron, you were perfectly good to me for most of our marriage,” Hermione replied softly.
“Yes, but I actually thought for awhile that it was you who had dosed me with love potion,” Ron said. Hermione shrugged.
“You had no proof that it wasn’t true. It’s okay, Ron. It happened. It’s now in the past,” Hermione said. Ron nodded, solemnly.
“I’m sorry I kissed you that time after you found out. I just – I just needed to know,” he said. Hermione nodded.
“I know, Ron. I understand,” Hermione assured him, “It’s nothing to be sorry for.”
Most of the time, however, Hermione was on her own. Yes, she had work, and that distracted her, but she was unbelievably angry at Harry Potter. She had never hated anyone in her life, but she was sure she was close to it with Harry.
Yet, at the same time, somehow, she pitied him. He had decided his popularity was more important than anything else. He hadn’t seen past Hogwarts, he hadn’t seen what could happen in the future. He had only been thinking about the present, and now he was stuck where he was. The woman he claimed he loved almost hated him, and he had no friends. Not even the man who used to be his best friend, and he had brought it on himself.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” she muttered to herself when she realised this was what she thought, “There’s no need to pity him. It’s completely his fault.” But she couldn’t help it. Perhaps it was because she couldn’t help but pity almost everyone and everything she came across, but her anger at Harry was mingled with pity.
Hermione was curled up on a chair in the living room, reading a book, when there was a loud knock on the door. Hermione went to answer it to find Ginny, looking very angry.
“What did you do to Harry?” Ginny asked, her eyes flashing with anger.
“What are you talking about?” Hermione asked.
“Harry is absolutely distraught. It’s your fault. What did you do?”
“What did I do? Why don’t you ask him what he did? What he did to me and your brother!” Hermione exclaimed. Ginny stepped back, shocked.
“What do you mean, to you and my brother? Tell me!”
“You need to ask Harry. I certainly don’t want to repeat it. It’s made me miserable enough, thank you. Please leave,” Hermione said. Ginny stared at Hermione, not moving out of the doorway.
“You and my brother… Hermione, what…?” Ginny shook her head, thinking better than to ask her, and Disapparated. Hermione stared at the doorway for a minute, as if expecting Ginny to reappear, but she didn’t. Harry hadn’t told Ginny. Harry was upset about something, and had obviously made it out to sound like it was her fault. Harry Potter was a coward, and didn’t deserve her pity. She was being ridiculous about pitying him.