Ginny closed her eyes as the words escaped her lips. She couldn’t explain it, because the moment she did, everything would come out. She would no longer be able to keep the secret from Thomas, or even Lily. The life she had worked hard to build would crumble down in an instant once he knew the complete truth. She knew she still loved Harry, even after her affair with Hermione, and her departure from the wizarding world.
She felt a hand being placed on her arm, dragging her to a seat. Opening her eyes, she tried to free her arm from Harry’s grasp. She cast a glance at Lily, who was happily playing with the red head children. Frowning, she turned back to Harry. “Who are those other children Harry?” she asked, trying to avoid revealing her secret.
“You’ve been gone so long you don’t even know your own nephew and niece.”
Ginny gasped. “Who’s?”
Harry lowered her down onto the bench, before taking a seat beside her. He bowed his head, wringing his hands. “They are Ron’s. A couple of months after you left, Cho found out she was pregnant with twins. It was the happiest time for your family. Of course there was Victoire and it had just been announced that Fleur was pregnant with another girl. Yet, the happiness was short lived. The twins were delivered two months too early. Cho died in Ron’s arms shortly after she gave birth. I help out every now and then, just so Ron can have a break. He struggles a lot. He gave up his job as an Auror, saying it was too dangerous. Instead he took a desk job as a Wizarding Lawyer. It wasn’t until the twins were two that he finally accepted my help. Even now, Ron is sometimes reluctant to let them go. Your mother wants him to move back into the Burrow, so she can help look after the twins.”
Tears were falling freely from Ginny’s eyes. She had missed so much, been to absorb in her own ’perfect’ life to realize her family meant need her. “Oh My God…” she sobbed out. Harry wrapped his arms around her, letting her head fall onto his shoulder.
“He and Cho were so happy when they found out she was pregnant. Just after this they had a huge fight. They had fights, which weren’t uncommon, but this was pretty brutal. When I bought a new apartment, Ron would often stay with me. Then, on Christmas Eve, Cho told Ron she didn’t love him anymore; she said that they had drifted too far apart to be together. Ron had been spending the last few months away on missions, trying to find the last two Death Eaters, to help her out. There was a heated agreement in front of your whole family and suddenly Cho said she couldn’t do it anymore. She disapparated and the next day Ron received a letter. Inside were divorce papers. Apparently she had been planning it for a while, but never could quite decide to leave Ron.”
Ginny held her head in her hands, looking up at her daughter every now and then to make sure she was fine.
“It took five months for them to get back together and by this time Cho was six months pregnant. Ron had moved in with me and was struggling in everyday life. He started to experience nightmares from the war. He wouldn’t eat and it wasn’t till he finally collapsed that were able to get him to the hospital. Ron was diagnosed with acute depression. It was severe, but it would most likely plague his life until he died. He was released into the care of your mother and father. A month later, just after we were able to get Ron to sign the divorce papers, he started to pick up. It had been three months since their split. Cho was living in Australia for that time and had no knowledge of what she had put Ron through. Soon after Ron started to pick up, we were out on a mission, when we were ambushed. I was able to get out with a couple of scratches, but Ron was severely injured. One of the rogue Death Eaters used an unknown spell on him, causing Ron to fall into a coma. There were severe burns and deep cuts all over his body…”
Harry stopped suddenly, his voice catching in his throat. He always found it hard to speak of that event. He felt a hand on his arm, squeezing it tightly, to reassure him. Ginny was staring at him, tears rolling down her cheeks. Harry used the pad of his thumb to brush them away. “Please go on Harry.”
He nodded, before taking a deep breathe and continuing. “We killed the remaining Death Eaters. There was rubble everywhere and Ron was missing. I search for hours, screaming out his name. My fellow Aurors pleaded me to leave, but I wouldn’t listen to them. After hours of searching, I found him, unconscious and close to death. There was blood soaking through a wound in the stomach and also from his head. The only way to get him out of the rubble was to do it manually, with no magic. It took three hours, by then he was finding it hard to breathe.”
Ginny let her hand dropped from Harry’s arm. She stood up and wrapped her arms around her waist, trying to stop herself from crying. Her breathes were uneven and Harry could see her distress in the way she walked. The only thing he wanted to do was wrapped his arms around her and kiss her to the day they died. Cautiously, he walked over to her. His feet pounded against the pavement, as his heart thumped against his ribcage. He wrapped his arms around Ginny, pulling her into his chest.
“Ginny. Gin look at me.” He pulled her chin up, so that their eyes connected. “We got him out. It took a while, but we did get him out. Once the rubble was removed, the damage to his body was horrifying. We got him out and he was taken away. Once he was in a hospital bed, the Healers worked tirelessly to heal him. After three hour, they came out, shaking their heads and mumbling about there was no hope. I was able to sneak in, although I wished I hadn’t. Machines were connected to every part of Ron’s body; a machine was all that was keeping him breathing. He was relying on magic and Muggle inventions. No-one was allowed to see him for days and your mother was becoming frantic. Your family was there for every second of the day, refusing to leave until they received some information. Cho arrived a couple of days later, her eyes filled with tears. The mission had been all over the paper, one of my Aurors let it slip what happened. Reporters were filling the hospital, making it impossible for us to move anywhere without one pouncing on us. Cho had read what had happened in the Aurgust, a wizarding paper in Australia. She was frantic and collapsed from exhaustion.”
Harry shot a quick glance over at the twins, his eyes full of concern. They were happily sitting on the ground by the swings, probably doing something mischievous. Lily was sitting with them, giggling at something. Harry smiled, completely forgetting about the woman in his arms. Her sniffling brought him back to their talk.
“Ginny, he was ok. Trust me. It was two weeks after he had arrived at the hospital that he started to improve. Magic still supported him most of the time, but not as much as before. Two days after he started to improve, he woke up. He and Cho reconstituted their relationship and were so happy together. When Ron was let out of the hospital two weeks later, he and Cho moved into my apartment. However, when Cho was walking up to the apartment, she tripped on the stairs. She rolled down two flights of stairs, before finally stopping. Ron found her a couple of minutes later, with blood soaking her pants. He took her to St Mungo, where she was admitted and the Healer’s had to perform an emergency C-Section. Cho died shortly afterwards from the loss of too much blood.”
With one hand he brushed the blond hair out of Ginny’s eyes. He titled her chin so she could look at him. They stared at each other, before Harry drew Ginny closer to him. His lips descended upon hers, soaking in her sweet scent. Harry began to work his lips over hers, before the realization of what was happening dawned on him. He pulled away slowly, his body urging to draw her nearer again. “I’m sorry Gin. I don’t…”
Ginny cut him off. “Harry, it’s alright.”
He nodded slowly, the monster inside him growling for more.
“Have I missed anything else?”
Harry closed his eyes.”I married Evelyn, Gin. She told me something I couldn’t ignore, and from the urge of her grandparents, we married. I wasn’t completely truthful that night we met again Ginny…”
Harry paced up and down his study, trying to rack his brain over what was happening. They hadn’t seen each other in years and suddenly, she was all he could think about. Two years. Two years without her and yet, now she was his kryptonite.
Everything he had bottled up was now un-corked. The anger, pain and the tears. He was angry at what he had done to her, of his unfaithfulness. No matter what everyone said, he had caused the death of his unborn child. He drove Ginny away; so far away he hadn’t seen any difference in her. The late nights in his office, at Evelyn’s, even out drinking, had taken a toll on her, making her deal with it alone.
He had driven her away, forced her to leave her life behind. She had gone missing; no-one knew where she was. Yet, she somehow found a way back into his life.
She haunted his dreams, even his everyday life. Every red-headed woman he saw he thought it was her. The guilt of what he had done was slowly driving him crazy. He was happy in a way, had almost everything he wanted.
But there was still her.
No letters, no goodbye. Just an empty presence.
A young, timid voice broke Harry out of his thoughts. He turned around to see Evelyn, her belly bulging, staring at him with wide eyes. She had tears cascading her face, the light casting a haunting look. Harry’s heart missed a beat. He knew he had caused those tears.
For the past few months he had been spending less and less time with her. The very thought of her carrying a child – his child - made him sick. He hadn’t wanted to have children with her, it was only meant to be a fling, something to ease the pain he had created with Ginny. But he had promised her, although reluctantly, to wed and look after her. After all, it was his fault.
“Come back to bed Harry.”
She placed a hand on her stomach, her eyes pleading with his.
He hadn’t slept very well lately. He hadn’t wrapped his arms around his wife’s body, making her feel loved. Nor had he said those very words to her. I love you. They always caught in his throat. He couldn’t say them, not when he knew they were no longer true. A long time ago he had been able to say them with ease.
Harry stared into the fire. He didn’t dare to look at Evelyn, to see the hurt behind her eyes. No matter how much he tried to tell himself he hadn’t, he knew he had made a mistake. He knew he should never have had an affair with her.
Her voice broke through him. His heart ached for the pain to end.
He turned his head away from her. His voice broke as he shook his head. “I’m not tired.”
“Please come anyway. I need you. We need you.”
“I said I’m not tired Evelyn.”
“Does it matter? Can’t you just come to bed and lay there?”
Harry felt a pulse of anger surge through him. He had only ever felt this type of anger when Voldemort had been alive. He turned around and glared at her. “Damn it Evelyn! I said I wasn’t tired!”
Evelyn sank back up against the wall. She placed a protective hand on her stomach. Tears threatened to fall from her eyes. She stared at him blankly, shaking slightly. Immediately, Harry regretted yelling at her.
It wasn’t her fault his life had ended up so screwy. He hadn’t forced her to take part in his affair, yet he knew she still couldn’t be blamed. He hadn’t stopped her either.
He attempted to reach out to Evelyn, but she pulled away. No emotion filled her grey eyes. “Don’t Harry. Just don’t. I’m sick of your coldness and distance. I can’t deal with it at the moment.” Her voice was cold and distant. Without another word, she left the room, leaving a cold silence in her wake.
Harry slumped down into his armchair. Her words had stung, but he knew them to be true. He knew he had been distant, but had he really been that distant from her? Were her words true, or just out of spite? If it was Ginny, would he have been so cold towards her? Would his words have stung her as badly? Harry didn’t know anything anymore. So many questions pounded against his brain.
There was a chance, Evelyn had admitted, that the baby wasn’t his. Shortly after his break-up with Ginny, he had neglected Evelyn. He blamed her. She had seeked refuge with another man. She admitted that they had slept together on a number of occasions.
Harry felt something tug at his night gown. He looked down to see the large, tennis-ball eyes of his house-elf Swany.
“Master, sir. Mistress is needing you up stairs in the master bedroom sir. She says it is urgent.”
“Tell her Swany, that I will be up there shortly.”
With a bow, Swany left the room. Harry turned his attention to the fire. Red danced with yellow, as light flickered over his face.
Slowly, he pulled himself out of the chair. Reluctantly he walked slowly to the master bedroom. Evelyn was sitting on the bed, tears swimming down her face. She held her head high as she looked at Harry with a look of determination among the tears. “We need to talk Harry.”
Harry stared at her. “Swany said it was urgent.”
“It is Harry.”
“Is the baby alright?” The words caught in Harry’s throat. Even though he knew the baby was a mistake, he still felt a tiny bit of love for it.
“Yes, I suppose the baby is alright. But, we aren’t Harry.”
Harry continued to stare at her. He tried to hold back laughter at the thought of the two of them not being alright. His face looked pained as he tried to contain it.
“You and I need to talk Harry.”
She pulled Harry down onto the bed, so that he sat next to her. “Why do you blame me Harry, for what you did?”
Harry looked away from her. “Blame you for what?”
“Everything. Your breakup with Ginny, this child, our marriage! You blame me for everything that has happened to you this past year!”
“I do not!”
“You do, Harry, and it hurts. You are so cold and distant from me. You don’t want this child, I know you don’t. The only reason you married me was because of the urge from my grandparents. I forced you to marry me.”
“You didn’t Evelyn. I agreed to look after you and the baby.”
“I know you did, but now…” the words caught in her throat. She looked away from Harry, wringing her hands. “Now, I’m relieving you of your promise.”
“I want a divorce Harry. We’ve been married for eight months! And not once have you held me like you did before. Not once have you told me you love me. My heart can only take so much and it’s finally broken. You broke it Harry, with everything you’ve done.”
“I’ve packed everything I need Harry. I’ve been planning this for awhile, although I never knew if I had to end up doing it. I’m leaving tonight and I won’t be coming back.”
“What about the baby, you just can’t keep it from me! I have a right!”
“I know you do. I still have two months to go Harry. When the baby comes, we can decide. I do love you Harry, but I can’t deal with this anymore. Please don’t make it any harder, because no matter what you say, I’m going.”
With freshly cried tears, Evelyn picked up a bag by her feet and left the room without a backwards glance at Harry.
Harry pulled himself off the bed, realization that his marriage was finally over, had lifted a large weight off his shoulders.
Ginny stared at Harry, her mouth opened. “You’re divorced?”
“Yeah, I am.”
“You have a child?”
“His name is Henry Jakes. He is about six years old and looks more like Evelyn, than me. If you were to see him, you couldn’t tell he was my kid.”
“So, is he yours?”
“As far as I know. Look, Gin, I never meant to hurt you. I never meant to betray you. I was weak and you always deserved much more than I could give you.”
“Don’t you dare Harry Potter!” Ginny looked at Harry, her eyes ablaze. “Don’t you dare say I deserved better! You were the best Harry, you were my first love! I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you; bare your children.”
“No Harry. You weren’t the only one who was unfaithful…”
Ginny gasped as the words fell from her mouth. Harry stared at her. His mouth opened and closed, giving him the look of a goldfish. “What?”
“Harry… I was unfaithful to you.”
“You were what?”
“I slept with someone while I was with you.”
Ginny felt tears fall from her eyes. Harry didn’t look angry, more shocked.
“W…who?” The words hurt as Harry felt them leave his lips. Ginny flinched, avoiding eye-contact. She took a deep breath, before meeting his eyes.
The words hit Harry hard. Hermione?
“Yes. I’m so sorry Harry.”
“You’re a… lesbian?”
Ginny laughed, despite the situation. “No, Harry… I’m not. I thought it meant something, but it didn’t.”
She tried to smile. Harry was looking her, his eyes amused. “You’re not angry?”
“No… it hurts, but I can find the funny side of it. I just wish I could have seen it.”
Ginny laughed, while smacking Harry on the arm. “Harry….gross.”
“Sorry… but you know, you haven’t answered my question yet.”
“Why I didn’t know about my daughter.”
Harry cast a glance over at the playground. Lily was hanging from the monkey bars, while Ron’s two children were trying to tickle her. Ginny followed his eyes. She sighed as she watched the three children playing.
“I couldn’t face the truth… to tell you would mean I had to acknowledge the fact that I cheated on my husband. Thomas is such a sweet man and he cares about me. It was better to hide my guilt, for him.”
“That still doesn’t tell me why.”
“Oh Harry, can’t you see? I cheated on him! Lily isn’t his child, although he thinks she is. Why let the past shadow the future. Thomas loves Lily, he does everything for her. Don’t ruin it.”
“I had a right to know.” Harry’s voice had risen dangerously high.
Ginny cast another glance over at Lily. She was happily talking animatedly to her cousins. Ginny caught snippets of the conversation and tried to hide her laughter. Harry was watching her, his green eyes blazing red.
“I know you did. I don’t regret that night Harry, but I do feel the guilt over it. I suppose I thought I did regret it, but somehow I always knew, that on some level, it was meant to happen. You gave me Lily, the most caring child. By giving me Lily, you gave me something to live for. I love Thomas, with all my heart. There’s no doubt about that. I had a moment of weakness when I saw you again and I couldn’t help but un-bury those feelings I had for you. Although I don’t regret that night, it was a mistake. A mistake that gave me Lily, but at the same time, I lost the life I had.”
“Harry, please understand. To acknowledge that Lily was your daughter, I would never have been able to face him again. Please don’t make this harder.”
Ginny looked up at Harry. Tears fell from her eyes. She stared at Harry’s eyes, the exact same shape and colour as Lily’s. Harry brushed away the tears with his thumb, while drawing Ginny closer to him.
“I never stopped loving you Gin.”
Ginny was cut off as Harry’s lips clashed with her own. It was forceful, but also passionate. Ginny felt her arms snake around Harry’s shoulders, drawing him nearer. It was wrong, but it felt so right…
The door to the cottage opened with a satisfactory click. Ginny let go of Lily’s hand, allowing her to run into the house. “Daddy!”
Ginny closed the door behind her. She picked Lily’s discarded coat off the floor and placed it on the hook by the door. Taking off her own, she let a sigh escape her lips. She kicked off her shoes, following Lily further into the house.
It was about six at night and normally Thomas would be home, cooking dinner. The lights were off in the house, casting dark shadows across the hallway. “Thomas, you home?”
When there was no answer, Ginny proceeded into the lounge room. She turned on the light and gasped when she saw Thomas sitting at the kitchen table, a carton of beer in front of him. His eyes were bloodshot and he swayed on his chair. Lily was standing next to him, her eyes glancing up from Ginny to Thomas. “Mummy, what’s wrong with daddy?”
Ginny bowed her head. “Nothing Lily. Why don’t you go play in your room until dinner time?”
Lily nodded her head and bounced out of the room.
Ginny walked slowly towards Thomas. He tipped the rim of the bottle to his lips, taking a deep gulp. He rested the bottle on the table, his eyes becoming droopy.
“Thomas, honey, what’s wrong?”
“I got…hic…fired today.”
“What?” Ginny stared at him, her mouth opened in shock.
“I got fired…hic….today. Are you…hic… deaf?”
“Thomas, how dare you speak to me like that!” Ginny’s eyes blazed red.
“What, can’t I…hic…speak the truth?”
“Not like you…hic…love me!”
“What are you talking about? Of course I love you!”
“I saw you with…hic…him!”
Ginny gasped. “What?”
“Don’t act innocent! I saw…hic…you!”
Thomas staggered off the stool he was sitting on. He grabbed Ginny around the wrist, drawing her close. Ginny attempted to push him away, but she was unable to. “Don’t lie to me.” His words hissed against her ear, making her squirm.
He raised his hand as a warning. “Do it, I dare you to! Hit me!”
His eyes flashed dangerously at Ginny. Her mocking voice annoyed him.
“You did this…hic…to me! I hit my…hic…boss because of you!”
Ginny remained silent, her eyes continuing to stare into his.
Everything had gone pear-shaped from that morning. Everything she knew had gone wrong. Harry knew and now, Thomas was the complete opposite of his normal self.
Ginny turned around to face her daughter. She attempted to hide the tears. “Go back to your room honey. I’ll be in there in a moment.”
Thomas glared at her. “We’ll take about this later.”
He pushed Ginny away from him, not caring if he hurt her. Without another glance, he left the room. He banged the front door behind him and his car was heard leaving the driveway.
Ginny felt the tears escape from her eyes. She fell to the floor, letting a sob escape her lips.
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