Chapter 20 : Lovestory.
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It was around 5 O'clock in the morning, and the battle was over. I really expected to be so tired I would end up sleeping for 3 days straight, and yet, after barely 2 hours I'd already woken up.
After the battle between Lestrange and Voldemort, we reset the whole situation, just as planned, by erasing the memories of everyone involved (except us of course). We erased everything that happened from the moment Lestrange jumped in, like none of us ever interfered. Afterwards, we followed teenage Harry, Ron and Hermione to make sure history went the way it was supposed to go and thank Merlin, it did.
Teenage Harry ended up fooling everyone into thinking he was dead like he was supposed to, and ended up defeating Voldemort the way he was supposed to as well. We all shadowed them under the Invisibility Cloak that Uncle Harry apparently had managed to take with him into this timeline. I stopped in my tracks and gazed at Hogwarts with a solemn look. It looked so peaceful. There were bodies scattered on the grounds everywhere -- however it were mostly bodies of the enemies. All the bodies of the good guys had been brought into the Great Hall, where all the families and friends were now mourning their lost ones.
I sighed, bended over to grab a small stone, and then threw it into the lake. It splashed three times on the water before it sank.
We had headed for the cave Sirius had hidden in near Hogwarts after Uncle Harry's third year. The portret that had been made of him after his death had told Uncle Harry it's exact location years ago. The four of us had all gone to sleep there but when I woke up Mum was gone. She had left a card saying she had gone out for a walk. Nobody could have ever anticipated how the final confrontation would go down. I chuckled bitterly. When I woke up the last time before just now, I still had been in Amsterdam and my greatest concern had been Louis and Loriette and how we both liked the same girl.
It was downright insane how much had happened in a day -- even less then 24 hours!
I felt like a different person now. Like I'd aged 2 years between the beginning and end of this. I stopped to look at my hands. They were still lightly shaking and still dirty. It didn't feel like they'd ever stop their trembling. The day stayed relatively normal for the first few hours. Only around midday, things exponentially went insane. I was attacked by a Dementor, and when I woke up suddenly pretty much every important person in my life was in my living room, and I had to hear how a psychopath was trying to kill us all. Lestrange connected with us and then we spent a few hours coming up with a plan to take him down until it was 00:00 AM.
From that point onwards we were left waiting on the Golden Trio and praying our plan would succeed. It flopped, by a twist of fate I managed to enter the building where the Golden Trio and Lestrange faced off, and chickened out in ending Lestrange right there and then. However, I now realized my Curse would never have been fast and strong enough to end Lestrange anyways. In the end, funnily enough, we never actually managed to beat Lestrange. We didn't even really do much of anything. Lestrange truly had become a near perfect Wizard; there hadn't been a single person who was ever able to match his intellect or Magical power.
In the end, he had one weakness and one weakness alone: Love.
I thought about Dumbledore's sayings... How he had always preached that Love is the most powerful form of Magic there is. How Voldemort had always preached Love was nothing but a setback, a weakness.
The more you care, the more you have to lose: right?
In the end, both had been proven right. His absolute love and affection for Bellatrix had resulted in him not being able to defend himself against her... Not wanting to defend himself against her. Yes, it had been his demise but it had also had been the driving force that helped him become so much stronger than Voldemort; it was his love for Bellatrix that motivated him to hone his Magical abilities and form this plan.
It was terribly sad though, how in the end he had tried to become the person Bellatrix truly loved, solely to win her affection...
This meant that deep down, he knew all along she didn't truly love him even though it was very apparent he tried very hard to fool himself into thinking otherwise. Even though in his heart he knew, he still was surprised when Bellatrix showed her true colors when she killed him to save Voldemort. He'd actually somehow succeeded in fooling himself into thinking Bellatrix loved him too.
Another very strange thing to think about was... We'd succeeded in letting the timeline follow it's destined course. Did this mean that everything that happened today... Was supposed to happen? That all those years ago... The first time... we'd been there too but teenage Harry and Mum and Dad just never recalled because we erased their memories?
Argh... I didn't know. My head hurt.
I threw another rock. We'd never see our family and friends ever again. Nobody had said the words out loud yet, but we all knew. It was over for us. But 10 years from now, I'd be born, and I'd have a happy life without Lestrange ever barging in out of nowhere to ruin it all. directly after the battle today Uncle Harry had gone of to the house of the Lestranges and killed the Lestrange of this timeline. I prayed future me would learn to appreciate how great his life was... I only realized today just how much of my life was spent complaining about how awful I had it. For Merlin sake, I even complained about being born into my strange family! My biggest concern in life was that my family was strange... Now, I'd give everything just to see them all again and be with them again.
I sat down in the sand and looked at my reflection in the water. The sun had appeared behind the horizon. It was giving the clear blue sky a yellowish tint. It gave everything a yellowish tint. It made my normally dark brown hair look red, gold at the edges and my brown eyes a golden amber.
I thought about how I defeated the 6 Dementors in the great hall and smiled. My reflection smiled back. And my Patronus was actually a Lion as well! At least I'd finally proven myself to be a worthy Gryffindor. A shadow fell over me and I turned around. It was Dad.
"Hey there, Hughs. Just wanted to tell ya I'm going for a walk for a bit. Don't wonder off too far, okay?"
His expression equalled mine; he looked defeated, even though we'd won. I nodded solemnly. He then took off and I looked at his back. On an impulse, I then decided to follow him.
I ran towards the cave at full speed, grabbed Uncle Harry's Invisibility Cloak (he was still sleeping) and ran back. Only because Dad was both walking very slowly and stood out because of his tall physique and flaming red hair, was I able to spot him. He'd just passed Hagrid's empty house and was walking upward the hill to the west- entrance of Hogwarts.
I put the Cloack on and followed him closely. There were several bodies laying on the ground. It was completely quiet. Just before Dad entered he took out his wand and Magically changed his appearance until he was unrecognizable. He now had brown hair, his beard was gone, he was shorter and had more Arabic physical features. But if you knew his face as good as I did, you could still tell it was him. He entered the Great Hall and I did too. It was completely full; family and friend were all together, mourning for their lost ones. He made his way over to a group of people that all sported red hair. For a moment I was scared he was going to speak to them, but he stopped at a safe distance and just looked. The Weasley family was sitting in a circle around Fred Weasley and Lupin and Tonks, who had all passed away. We were standing close enough for me to overhear their conversation. They all had this bittersweet, soft smile on their faces. Several others were there too, including Hagrid. He was the only one who was still crying and sniffing his nose, the others had red, puffy eyes but weren't crying anymore.
"Remember that time Fred locked Ron inside a bewitched sarcophagus on our vacation to Egypt and convinced Mum George had done it?" Charlie said. George gave a weak smile. Granddad had his arm around him and gave him a tight squeeze. "Mum had him over his lap and his butt was already as red as Bill's chest hair long before George could even explain he hadn't done anything and that it in fact had been Fred who'd done it. Fred still cracked up about it months after the vacation was over." Several people chuckled softly. I noticed everyone besides Teenage Mum and Dad and Teenage Uncle Harry and Aunt Ginny were there.
They continued reminiscing and coping with their great loss together in their little circle. I felt both a certain kind of sadness as a certain kind of happiness, watching them. Dad turned around and marched out of the Great Hall. I followed him. He returned all the way to the lake, but actually kept walking until he reached the other side of the lake.
I'd never been here before... No one had as far as I knew. There were man-eating plants here and they were a pain in the arse.
Dad walked over to the plants and they immediately tried to attack him. He dodged them and made his way to the Queen of the flesh-eating plants, who was huge compared to the others. None of the plants had eyes but they had tiny white shark-like teeth. He managed to get under the Queen's mouth and tickled her. She giggled and out of nowhere, all the plants were immobilized.
Taken aback by what had just happened before me, I followed Dad as he entered the woods behind the flesh eating plants. We walked through the trees until we ended up at a small open space, filled,with water. In the middle there was a small island with a few trees and bushes on it. I heard voices coming from it.
I followed Dad as he walked through the water to get to the little island (luckily, the water wasn't too deep). The voices became louder and I recognized them as teenage Mum and Dad. Dad hid in the bushes and watched himself and Mum; they were sitting at the border of the island, next to each other.
Teenage-Mum's head was resting on Teenage-Dad's shoulder. The ribbles the (very clear) water made was reflected on their faces and the trees. It created an almost fairytale-like scenery. They were throwing rocks into the water just like I had been doing a while ago. "No no, c'mon Hermione, I expected you to be good at this! Look, you throw like this."
Teenage-Dad threw a rock across the water flawlessly.
Teenage-Mum threw a rock as well and it immediately sank in to the water. "Ugh, what am I doing wrong?! It's because I'm sitting down, isn't it?" She tried standing up but Dad pulled her down. "That doesn't have anything to do with it Hermione! I know I'm shit at most things, but you can trust me on this, alright? It's just a matter of technique, you..."
"You really believe that, don't you?" She interrupted, suddenly.
Dad looked at her a bit taken aback. "Well, uhm... I'm not saying I'm a pro or anything b--"
"No. I mean about that "being shit at everything" part."
She looked him straight in the eyes. He couldn't look back. "I uh... I was just joking Hermione, no need to get so serious..."
"Harry told me, you know," Mum muttered. "What you guys saw when you destroyed the Locket. We both never had any idea. Why didn't you tell us?"
"Tell you what?" Dad responded, now getting defensive.
"It's over now, Hermione, we've won, so can't we just let all that Horcrux crap rest?"
"You know good and well what this is about Ron. Why are you always so insecure about everything?" Mum frowned. Dad's ears colored red. "So he told you -- the lousy git--"
"You really thought I liked Harry? Really?" Mum asked him disbelievingly. "How could you be so thick?"
"Well, why not?!" Dad responded, getting defensive again. "You two were always talking and speculating... You two were always together and left me out... Plus I started noticing you two sometimes going off somewhere alone... Or just act a bit too affectionate..."
"We were always talking because we were trying to take down several Horcruxes, of which we did not know the locations nor how to destroy them in the first place! What else were we supposed to do besides talking about it?" Mum responded, agitated.
"Okay okay hadn't we already come to the conclusion I was acting like a right dickhead around that time weeks ago? Why are you bringing that stuff up now?" Dad said.
"Because... Because it really bothers me, you know. It bothers me how you don't know how great you are."
Mum's voice had become a whisper. She looked at him with big, puppy eyes. Dad's ears became even redder. He certainly wasn't used to compliments. "Gosh Hermione..." He muttered, still not able to look at her. He looked at the ground instead.
"Ron... Today, everything you did... How you singlehandedly found a way to destroy the Horcruxes... I can tell you right now neither Harry nor I had even thought of that and I doubt we ever would have. And how you remembered to tell the House-Elves to evacuate themselves... It hadn't even crossed my mind once, Ron... I, ME!"
"You sound like a proud mother, Hermione."
She now chuckled too."In a weird way, I do feel sort off proud of you Ron. Because I've known you for so long, and I've grown up with you... You definetely have had the biggest change from the 3 of us... Both physically and mentally. And I've watched you grow up into this bloody amazing Wizard sitting right here next to me, every step of the way."
"You haven't don't quite so bad yourself, 'Mione," Dad scoffed. "You shouldn't sell yourself short."
"That's your problem, Ronald," Mum said annoyed. "You always compare yourself to others, ALWAYS. Whatever you do is irrelevant because someone else has done this or has done that..."
"Why don't you like Harry, then, Hermione?" Dad suddenly asked. He was looking at the ground, his arms resting on his knees. Mum didn't immediately respond. "Admit it, he's a better Wizard than me. He's not so much of a moody twat, he isn't a lanky ginger with a long nose like me... Why me? Why not--"
"Shut the hell up, Ron!" Hermione warned. It stayed quiet again.
For the first time, my gaze shifted towards Old-Dad, who was also kneeling in the bushes, a few meters in front of me to the left. I couldn't see his face and he was as still as a statue.
"Why not Harry? Well, to be honest I'm not entirely sure. Its not like it's Potions or any other Logic based branch of Magic... It's not always that when you add A with B it reacts and becomes C, like Chemistry, if you will. I didn't plan any of this."
"Well, its just that I feel like I don't even really deserve you!" Dad now yelled, agitated again. "Maybe THAT'S why I get jealous so quickly, because to me you falling for those other people seems nothing short of logical... I'm constantly anticipating it... Waiting for it... I can't buy you the things Krum can buy you--"
"Now you're accusing me of just wanting money? This isn't even cute anymore Ron, you're genuinely pissing me off," Mum growled.
"You want reasons? Look, its not much and its certainly not everything, but one thing I like about you is how we balance each other out. I've made you more mature and responsible, and in return you've helped me to loosen up a bit. Harry would've never done that... He's way too similar to me."
"Hm, I guess that's true..." Dad said. He suddenly looked at Mum.
"So does all this mean... You love me, Hermione?"
"Does this...?" She asked, her mouth slightly open, and then she turned bright crimson in the blink of an eye.
Dad suddenly sported a cheeky grin. "Well?"
He started poking her in the ribs in a playful manner.
"Well? Well? So you really love this annoying loser?"
He started tickling her and they rolled over into the water, and for a moment it was just too perfect to be true, them laughing and wrestling playfully in the water, like the most cliche fairytale imaginable, until Mum kicked Dad right in the dick.
"Owwowwoww!!" Dad squeeked, jumping from foot to foot.
"I'm sorry! I'm sorry!" Mum said, her hands hanging in the air helplessly.
They just stood there, their feet still in the water, and their clothes completely wet.
"I really do love you, Ron," Mum suddenly said. She was looking at the ground, her cheeks tomato-red of embarrassment, and as weird as it may sounds, she looked absolutely adorable. Dad seemed to forget his pain in an instant. Never in my entire life had I seen him look this happy.
And they finally embraced each other. They kept talking and throwing rocks for a while, and eventually walked away from the island, passing us by but seeing neither of us, chatting happily.
I was looking at Old-Dad's back and noticed how it was shaking lightly. I threw the Cloack off and walked towards him. I put my arm around him and let him cry on my shoulder.
There weren't any words I could say. I definitely hadn't forgotten about their divorce, it just had been pushed to the side by other things.
Eventually, Dad stopped sniffing. We just kneeled there, in the bushes, and said nothing. But I still could hear a sniffing sound. I looked around, until I noticed a silhouette at the other side of the open space. It was Mum. And she was crying too. "Mum..." I whispered.
Dad looked up. Mum looked up. They made eye contact. I looked at the both of them. This could go either of 2 ways knowing them, I thought. Dad stood up. Mum stood up. Dad started running. Mum started running. Dad was there faster. He lifted Mum of the ground and they embraced each other at the exact same spot they'd been standing minutes ago.
"I still love you," Mum said. "I always will," Dad said.
"I guess you two just need a bloody reminder, once in a while," I yelled forming a voice-enhancer with my hands circling my mouth.
They ignored me and started kissing each other. I actually wasn't grossed out. I was just glad they hadn't gone for option two. I kinda felt like there needed to be an audience there, clapping, whistling and cheering them on...
O fuck it. I started clapping, whistling and cheering as their embrace became even stronger. In my opinion, we'd gotten an ending I could be satisfied with.
But more than anything, I was just glad they hadn't gone and went for option 2. That would've been a tad bit cru; for them to actually end up killing each other after all this.
I hadn't given it much thought, really. How we'd do it, I mean. But in the end I was glad we'd chosen this approach. It wasn't too much trouble to sneak into the Ministry of Magic. The 4 of us made our way to the special room, hidden in the Department of Mysteries I'd heard so much about in stories.
The room with the Arch. We all walked towards it and now we were standing close I faintly heard voices coming from it. Uncle Harry was going first. He looked at all three of us and then embraced us all individually. There were no words that could express what we were feeling so we where completely quiet. The only words we repeatedly spoke were "I love you" since, more than anything, Mum and Dad had proven that everyone needed to be reminded of that once in a while.
Then Dad stepped through the veil. Then Mum. "See you on the other side darling. I love you so, so very much," she said as she embraced me. I nodded and she stepped through as well. Now it was my turn. I let my mind wander one last time and thought about all my friends and family and how much I loved them. I thought about Fred, Sirius and even Dumbledore and how after all these years, I'd finally get to meet them. I stepped through the veil.
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