Chapter 1 : Chapter One
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"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."
Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)
I am thirty years old. I'm too old for this. This ancient, girlish crush. This should have ended ages ago. I should have moved on, given my new life a chance, let the changes occur. And yet...
No. I musn't think that way. I cannot think that way. Get a grip, Hermione Granger. But wait...that's not right, is it? No, it's not 'Granger' anymore. That name, that person, is long gone. I doubt if I'll ever see her again, too. It's a new person, now. It has been for all these years, and I've never gotten used to it. 'Weasley'. Don't get me wrong, I adore the Weasley's, and I almost always considered myself one of them, but this...this is just too different. It feels alien and obscure. It's...well, in a simple sense, it's not me. But that raises the question - would I have been me with him? Would I have been myself with Harry? Granted, he would have let me choose. He would have left the choice of changing my name up to me, instead of picking out my name for me. No, wait. That's not a fair statement. Ron did let me have a choice in the matter. But...he was just so infantile about the whole situation. He insisted that I take his name and would pout and moan every time I explained how I wanted to keep my name. We fought so much about that one little topic. He didn't even understand that I was joking when I offered that he change his name to match mine. What a tantrum he threw at that point. Finally I just agreed to change my name. It didn't even seem worth it anymore. But it seems worth it now. I let out a sigh.
Maybe I am making too much of this. I mean, it's years later and, after all, it's only a name. I crinkle my eyebrows. But it was my name. And there's that still unanswered question - would Harry have let me choose? Would I have chosen to keep my name, or to hyphenate it? Or maybe I would have chosen to take his name? Or, perhaps, in a spin on everything, he would have taken my name? I grin slightly at the prospect. 'Harry Granger'. It was sort of funny. But it doesn't stick as well as Harry Potter. I stare down at my hands, as I've completely lost myself in thought. I watch my hands knit, as if they have a mind of their own. I can't even remember what I'm making. I pull up the rest of the material to see what I'm knitting. Ah, a pair of green socks. I smile. For Harry, I remember. I frown. The universe has an odd way of reminding us of the things we'd most like to forget.
Why do I still think of him? Well, that was a silly question. He's my greatest friend. What I meant to ask myself is, why do I still think of him in that way? It's been years. Too many to count. He's never shown any interest in me as more than a good friend, so why do I continue to have these feelings? And, besides, I've been married now for ages, with two kids to boot. And yet, as bad as it sounds, I feel like I settled. I feel like I could have had more, I could have had something better, and I hate myself for it. I shouldn't feel that way - I have a husband who is, granted insensitive and rude at times, but he still loves me. And I have two of the greatest kids ever who think the world of me. And still, part of me wishes that those kids were Harry's. Why do these feeling still torment me, damnit! I throw my knitting to the floor, tears welling in my eyes. I walk to the window, where the rain is starting to trickle from the sky. It matches the flow of my tears. I feel utterly damned for feeling this way, and I'm not kidding. I truly feel as if I am in some sort of spiritual danger because of these feelings that I have. These wretched feelings. And still...
My favorite smells will always be parchment and freshly cut grass and Harry's hair after a shower. And I will always treasure those stolen moments when I grabbed his hand and he never jerked it away, or when we hid away from teachers under the invisibility cloak. Trips to Hogsmeade when it was just him, me, and Ron, but he and I would share secret glances will always be at the top of my list of favorite memories. And of course, the time I kissed him on the cheek was indeed my first kiss. Yes, I count that as my first kiss. Oh, Harry, I think I love you. No, I know I love you. But I can't yet I wan't to so badly. Does that make me bad? Am I truly damned because of these feelings? My thoughts are interrupted as I hear the door opening and the trudging of feet that I know are muddy.
"Hermione, love, where are you?", Ron yells through the house. I can hear him walking through the corners of the old house known as the Burrow. 'Please, Ron,' I think, 'don't knock over the' - crash! - 'vase'. I sigh inwardly. I hear Ron perform a quick fixing charm, as he does everyday when he comes home. Finally, he finds me in the living room.
"Hey there, Hermione," He says with a smile. He scoops me into a hug and I remember why he is my friend. But I also remember why he is only my friend, and yet, not. The tears start up again. I try to sniff them back without him noticing, but to no avail.
"Hermione, why are you crying?", He says as he pulls out of our hug. I scramble quickly to come up with an excuse.
"Oh, you know, just thinking of an old sad story I read once," I immediately respond. Ron quickly shrugs this off - he never wants to hear about old stories.
"So, where's Hugo?", He asks, changing the subject. I roughly wipe at my eyes and point up.
"He's taking a nap. Played all day on that blasted broom you got him. Completely wore himself out," I tell Ron. Ron smiles triumphantly. I knew he knew that Hugo would love that broom. I just wish there was a seatbelt that came with it. Or a parachute. I smile slightly.
"Well, then, I invited Harry, Ginny, and some other mates from the Ministry over for dinner. You think you can work that out?", Ron added. I look up, a flame in my eyes.
"What time did you tell them?", I ask, slightly icily. Ron's expression changes.
"6:30?", He whimpers. I look over at the clock. It read six o'clock. I was gearing up for a fight, but then a small voice in the back of my head pleads me to let it go. Just let it go. So I do. I look back up at Ron, the flame gone from my eyes.
"I'll have it done," I say. Ron relaxes into a smile and walks towards me. He kisses the top of my head.
'"That's my little Mrs. Weasley," He says before walking upstairs to go lie down. This leaves me biting my quivering lip. I had strived for many things in life, but...not this. I let a few tears fall, then quickly wipe my face and start work on the dinner, with magical aid, of course.
Another voice comes into the back of my head. 'You've lost your fire, Hermione'.
I would have chosen Granger.