Harry lay on his back in what seemed to be an underground hideout, his legs tucked behind him in the most awkward way possible. He opened his eyes to a grimy, leaky ceiling, bars lined around him and no windows. No windows meant no air, no light and no hope for an escape. His hands weren’t even tied behind his back and the only reason there would be no restraints would be if there were strong enchantments around the dingy dungeon. At the far end of the room, he made out a door, squinting harshly to see through the hazy darkness. It was wooden, not reinforced, but he had the impression that he wouldn’t be able to get out even if he tried. He didn’t have his wand, he didn’t have his glasses … he had nothing. He was all alone in this hole and all for what?
A few days ago, he had entered his Ministry office with an anonymous tip-off about a group of dark wizards gathering in East Anglia under the guise of a charity to organise attacks all over Britain. And now that he was bruised and broken in the bottom of what looked like a sewer, he knew that it was a set-up. He always said that he didn’t trust anonymous leads; they were untrustworthy because they could have come from anywhere and evidently this one had come from the very people he hoped to eliminate.
He was too old for this. Being the Head of the Auror department usually meant that you got to order other people around and sit at a desk somewhere with a cup of coffee, not do this. But for once, Harry wanted to relive his moments in his earlier Auror days. When he was in his twenties, he was the first one at the scene of an attack, ready for action. Besides, he needed to lead by example, not just letting everybody else put themselves in danger. And so he had asked Ron to join him and he had pulled Hermione away from her work in Elfish Welfare for her support. He would have asked Ginny if their relationship hadn’t been so rocky for a while …
They had worked out a strategy; they sent in Ron disguised as a member of the group, but things didn’t go as well as they had wanted. Ron was caught out almost straight away and a fight broke out almost instantly. And so Plan B came into effect: winging it. The rest of the Aurors charged in and fought. The plan was to get as many of them captured and back to the Ministry of Magic in London as possible and some did. About a quarter of the criminals had been Apparated to London while some had fled.
But then a dark-haired wizard had pointed his wand at Hermione’s back, herself unaware of her imminent attack.
Harry had sprinted across the room and flung Hermione down to the ground, avoiding the green flash of light, while Ron pointed his wand at the wizard and sent him flying across the room.
“Are you okay?” Harry asked her while she quivered beneath him.
“I’m fine. Thanks. I - I didn’t even see him …” Harry hugged her and then helped her up as she shook with fright.
“I’m taking him to London,” Ron told Harry and Hermione as he bound the perpetrator.
Harry blocked a spell from the other side of the room and hid behind a table next to Hermione.
“Hurry back, Ron!” she yelled out.
Ron nodded and Disapparated as the entire room seemed to explode like a tonne of explosives had gone off. Everyone in the room was blown off their feet or from the ground and flung outwards, some even out of the windows of the abandoned factory.
“HERMIONE!” Harry yelled.
He heard her cough and splutter from beside the window. “Harry?”
“Yeah, I’m -” And then nothing. At this point, Harry thought he was dead. Not only because everything had gone black, but because he just had a feeling. He was in the middle of a duel and plenty of people wanted him dead. The things that consoled him was the fact that Ron and Hermione were alive. And Ginny. And James, Albus, Lily, Rose, Hugo, Teddy … all those he loved …
But he didn’t die. Instead he woke up in the middle of this grotty place, guessing that whoever brought him there planned to keep him for ransom or torture him for information or their own sick pleasure. Harry gazed down at his empty ring finger on his left hand, the pale band of skin reminding him of the gold that had recently vacated the spot. Ginny had never said it, but he knew a divorce was the next thing on her to-do list. They had only even taken their kids to King’s Cross together to be cooperative and civil and so that Lily wouldn’t be upset. The boys already knew what was going on because of all of their fights and many nights of him sleeping in the living room alone. It was like they weren’t compatible anymore. Ever since Harry became committed (or obsessed as Ginny liked to put it) with his job, she became distant with him. It didn’t help that she was Apparating all over the world with her Quidditch journalism job, leaving him to look after the house and the kids in the Summer. He couldn’t remember the last time Ginny had spent some time alone with their daughter. But he knew it wasn’t her fault; she was busy. However, there was such a thing called prioritising. Whenever she was home, she was writing articles and barely speaking to her children. Harry wasn’t bothered that she was ignoring him, but them? That was what annoyed him. So they agreed to separate. Not permanently, but for a while. Harry didn’t have much hope that they would get back together, so as soon as the kids left for school in September, he moved some of his things to Grimmauld Place where he would leave Ginny to stay in their house - when she was in the country - to avoid any fighting. Even Ron said that if they just took a break from one another they’ll realise that they love each other. What was it Hermione said? ‘Absence makes the heart grow fonder.’ Well, that wasn’t Harry’s problem. He loved Ginny and always would, but did she love him?
Harry pushed himself against a wall behind him, gritting his teeth at the pain shooting down his back and to his bleeding leg. He was sure that it was broken, dislocated or both, so he settled it down lightly while he pulled off his jacket. Using his teeth, he ripped off a piece to wrap around the wound. Breathing slowly, he couldn’t help but think about all of the struggles he had been through, all of the tasks he had done that lead up to the defeat of Lord Voldemort. He had lost his parents, then was sucked into this world of magic so unexpectedly after years with the Dursleys, then he faced Voldemort via Quirrel, then nearly died saving Ginny in the Chamber of Secrets by suffering a poisonous snake bite, then found out about Pettigrew and his parents betrayal, watched Voldemort return after he killed Cedric, lost Sirius in the Department of Mysteries, witnessed Dumbledore’s death, then a year of near scrapes and murders led to his own ‘death’ and finally Voldemort’s demise. No wonder Ginny wanted him to calm down; he had already been through enough. But all the while, he had Ron and Hermione with him. Every step of the way, his best friends were with him and if it wasn’t for them he would have been dead long before his time.
Ron kept him sane. Ever since they established their friendship on the Hogwarts Express over two decades ago, Ron’s good humour and practicality was Harry’s lifeline. Ron gave him a family; the Weasleys were all he ever dreamed of, a support base and Mrs Weasley was the closest thing he had to a mother. Because of Ron, he had siblings, a large network of people to talk to and to love. He was a brother to him, someone he could always depend on. Well that had the exceptions of when he was fighting with Hermione or with Harry about Hermione … yes, Harry remembered what Ron had done that night in the tent when they were seventeen. He had left them and all because he had the unfounded theory that Harry was trying to take Hermione away from him.
But was it unfounded? Both Harry and Ron never really liked Hermione when they met her. She was bossy and really annoying. At every opportunity they tried to avoid her, or tell her to leave them alone, but after the troll incident somehow they were friends. She went from being irritating to admirable. She was smart, intelligent and very resourceful. Harry and Ron would never have made it through school without her helping them out and sharing her notes and making them revision timetables - no matter how tedious they were. Harry had the feeling that he liked having Hermione around when she wasn’t anymore. In second year, he felt empty when she was Petrified, as though a part of him was missing. He tried to dismiss it as just a feeling a friend gets when another friend is hurt and pushed it to the back of his mind. That exhilarating feeling he got when she woke up … well, it cant have been anything compared to how Ron felt; he had always loved her, as did Harry. So Harry ignored the butterflies in his stomach during their third and some of their fourth year and diverted them to the lovely Cho Chang. She was a beautiful girl and it was only fitting that he shared his first kiss with her. He couldn’t have done that with Hermione … He was surely tempted to when he saw Hermione in her periwinkle blue dress robes at the Yule Ball. She looked amazing and he felt just liked Ron looked: pissed off. He was pissed because he wasn’t taking Hermione himself, he was just better at covering it up with his fear of dancing in front of everybody. He often hid his true feelings, mostly because he had no time to think about it. He was more focused on surviving. And he was also glad that he broke up with Cho because of Hermione wanting to meet him in Hogsmeade after their date. But in sixth year, when it was obvious that Ron liked Hermione and that she liked him too, Harry forced himself to stop loving her. With all of the drama with Lavender Brown and Cormac McLaggen, Harry had no place to tell Hermione how he felt. He had wanted to at the Burrow during the summer, but chose instead to stare at Ginny, where eventually he realised how beautiful she was too. He was very confused at the age of sixteen as most people are. And so he ended up dating Ginny and he was happy until he realised they couldn’t be together. It was because she would be in danger, but also because he was lying to himself. Hermione was the one he wanted. She was the one he wanted all along. And so Ginny had to go, but she was determined. His birthday kiss made him consider staying with Ginny. She was so passionate and he was allowed to like her, unlike Hermione. No one had ever kissed him like that and so that gave him the willpower to want to defeat Voldemort and return to her. He had chosen. He had chosen Ginny over his best friend and not just because he was being noble, but because it was practical. Why should he have chosen Hermione and broken Ginny’s and Ron’s hearts in the process. He would have hurt Hermione too because she loved Ron, not him. But Ron had left them in the tent and Harry had no way of getting through to Hermione. He simply wanted to tell her everything would be okay, to hold her, to kiss her … But how stupid would that have been? To confirm what Ron’s accusations were …? Getting Ron through killing the Riddle versions of himself and Hermione was one of the hardest things he had to do. He had to tell Ron that it was all a lie, because in actuality it was. He would never kiss Hermione, but that didn’t mean that he didn’t want to. Just seeing the possibility of such a thing, gave Harry an intense feeling in the pit of his stomach. He felt like he was a betrayer. Ron was his best friend, his brother. And Hermione was like a sister to him.
When the Battle had ended, Harry had gotten back with Ginny because it was the right thing to do while Ron and Hermione got engaged. He was genuinely happy for them after all of their struggles and forgotten about his hidden feelings for the next decade or so, where he married Ginny and James was born. He was a father and that trumped every untold feeling he had for Hermione. Ginny was the mother of his child and he couldn’t ask for anything more. They were in love and happy. Harry always had a feeling that he would be taken away from his young son as his parents had been from him. He even sat nervously beside the window, wand in his hand, on James’ first Halloween, terrified of some sort of attack, but the time passed and so came the births of his other children, Albus and Lily and also of Rose and Hugo.
Harry had sacrificed his childhood for the wizarding world, for the people he loved and so neglected his true feelings. He loved his family to no end, but if he died in here, nobody would know about the secret he had kept buried since he was eleven years old. His whole life was bred from a lie, the lie that he didn’t love Hermione in that way. Because of this statement, he had been led to Ginny and his children and he would never change that, he would never change them. But now it was too late for anybody to know. Harry’s eyes glossed over and his vision became even more faded as salty tears built up between his lids. He blinked and a multitude of tears fell down his dirty cheeks and he didn’t even bother to wipe them away. He simply wept quietly, his chest jumping up and down, his eyes closed.
On the other side of the room, the door creaked and drew back invisible locks. It opened and two figures were seen in the doorway.
“Get up,” one of them told him.
Harry did nothing and so they came over to him and dragged him up. Harry groaned at the pressure on his leg as he was lead out of the room. He tried to make out where he was, but he could barely see a thing.
Eventually, he was lead to another room, this one much smaller with the shadows of two other people sitting in opposite corners. After a kick in the back, Harry rolled over on the ground and grabbed his injured leg.
“When I get out of here …” he muttered as the doors locked.
“Harry?” said a voice.
“Who’s there?” he asked.
“Harry!” The person crawled over to him and to Harry’s delight and despair,
Hermione’s tired face came into his view. Although her features were blurred by his poor vision, there was no doubt that it was her. Her shoulder-length hair was down and her brown eyes were bright with fear. The blue jumper and jeans she was wearing were ripped and dirty, as was her skin; evidently this room was no cleaner than the one Harry was in.
She wrapped her arms around him and he stayed still, not reciprocating. The guilt of his thoughts about her came to surface.
"Are you crying?" she asked.
"No." Harry wiped his face. “Are you alright?” he asked.
“Me? Look at you. Your leg …” She pulled aside the tear in his trousers and sighed at the sight of it.
“I’m fine.” Harry turned to the figure on the other side of the room. “Who’s that?”
Hermione looked to the ground and said quietly. “That’s Berkley. Elliot Berkley, one of the aurors we brought. They killed him.”
“I’m fine. I’ve just learnt not to ask any questions.” Hermione helped Harry over to the other side of the room away from the body. It was barbaric to have it left there, to rot, to pollute the air around them and so they both turned away from him, feeling awful for bringing him to this end.
“We all know what we sign up for when we do this,” Hermione told Harry. “You don’t have to feel guilty.”
“How did you know that was what I was thinking?”
“Because I know you Harry. Ever-modest, always feeling guilty for something you can’t control.”
Harry rolled his eyes. “I could have controlled this. I knew I shouldn’t have followed up on the tip-off.”
“We’re human. We make mistakes.”
“You’re surprisingly calm considering the circumstances.”
Hermione sat closer to Harry and leaned on his shoulder. “I’m not alone. I thought I was after Elliot was killed. I have faith.”
Harry smiled. “I’ve never known you to be such an optimist.”
“I feel highly offended at that, Harry,” Hermione said with a smile. “Anyway, I’m optimistic because I have you here, the Boy Who Lived, the Chosen One, the defeater of the worlds darkest wizard, the paradigm of good magic …”
“Alright, don’t get too carried away,” Harry interrupted.
Hermione chuckled. “You don’t give yourself as much credit as you should. You never have.”
“You got all the credit, Miss Granger, smartest witch of your age.”
“You mean, Mrs Weasley,” she corrected.
“Yeah …” Harry felt that strike to his heart that he thought he had forgotten. “Sometimes I forget.”
“Harry, it’s been years since I married Ron. Men …” she muttered wryly.
“Don’t you ever think about …?” He was getting into dangerous territory here and so stopped himself before he said too much.
“Don’t I ever think about what?”
Oh, what the hell, Harry thought. Now is as good a time as any. “Don’t you ever think about how different our lives could have been?”
“You mean if you weren’t who you are, the whole Voldemort thing?” Hermione asked with a frown.
“Yes and no. I mean, if I didn’t marry Ginny and if you didn’t marry Ron …”
“Well, yes of course. Every decision we make changes our future. I almost wasn’t going to marry Ron.”
“You weren’t?” Harry asked, shocked.
“Almost,” Hermione said. “Do you promise that what I say won’t go out of this chamber?”
“I promise,” Harry rushed.
“Well, it started when he asked me to marry him. I thought he was just doing it because it was the only other direction our relationship could go. Now that we were dating, the only thing left was marriage. I hated the idea of marrying him just because we could.”
“But you said yes.”
“Because I do love him. Just like I love you Harry.”
His stomach squirmed. “But you must have loved him more to marry him.”
“Yes,” she sighed. “But only just.”
“I’m touched,” Harry joked.
She laughed then ceased abruptly. “Do you remember that I was half an hour late to the wedding?”
“I thought you lost your bouquet?”
“No. I was thinking. Ron and I had had a massive argument a week before then and I threw the engagement ring at his head. Do you remember?”
Harry nodded. “He had a cut on his forehead when you got married.”
“Yes. We argue all the time and that was what worried me. Ever since we were young it’s been one fight after another. Could I spend the rest of my life doing that? And I realised I could, because I love him. It took a while but I did. Sometimes I’d wish he could be a little more like you. We never used to argue at Hogwarts.”
“That’s because there’s no sexual tension,” Harry whispered while looking at his fingernails. “Okay, Hermione, I’m going to say something and don’t freak out or anything. I figured because we might die here that I may as well tell you something.”
“We won’t die in here, but go ahead.”
“We might,” Harry said.
“You say that as if you hope we do.”
“After what I say, it wouldn’t be a bad option.”
Hermione raised her eyebrows. “It can’t be that bad.”
Harry shrugged and exhaled slowly. “Okay … you know I love you, Hermione. Like a sister?”
She nodded. “I love you too, Harry. You’re my best friend.”
“Right. Well, what if I told you that that wasn’t the only … what I’m saying is we - I feel … I mean, I’ve always liked you. In that way. Ever since I was eleven.”
Harry’s eyes were closed and when he finished, he opened one eye to see Hermione looking at the ground.
She looked at him. “That wasn’t that bad, Harry.”
“No, it’s bad,” he assured.
“No,” she said defiantly. “We were young. Of course all of these feelings would have been floating around. Even I had my ‘I love Harry Potter’ phase.”
“You did?” he asked shocked.
“Don’t look so surprised. Nearly every girl fancied you.”
“But … you …?”
She sighed. “Briefly. In first year I admired your heroics and Ron was just so annoying then. And then again in fifth year. You were so handsome - you still are - but then you went out with Cho and so I went back to moping over Ron.”
“Why didn’t you say anything?”
“Me? You’re the one who was harbouring a secret. I thought it was obvious that I liked you. Don’t you remember when I told you that you were good looking in fifth year? Proof.”
“I thought you were just saying that to get at Ron.”
“I’m not that shallow.”
“I vaguely remember your antics with Cormac McLaggen, Hermione.”
“That was different,” she said, blushing.
“Because he was doing the same with Lavender Brown.”
“He didn’t date her to make you jealous particularly. He just wanted some snogging experience. I’d say he quite regretted being with her because you were so upset.”
“Don’t you change the subject Harry Potter. You told me this for a reason. Why now?”
“We might die. I thought you should know,” he said vaguely.
“Okay,” she accepted.
They sat in silence for a minute or two.
Hermione laughed. “Do you ever wonder what it would have been like if we got together?”
“All the time,” Harry whispered.
“Harry …” Hermione closed her eyes for a moment.
“That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you. It wasn’t just a phase. Everything I’ve done in my life was somehow linked back to you. I only dated Cho because I thought you were in love with Ron … if I’d have known that you liked me -”
“Harry it’s too late to think about the past.”
“It’s never too late.”
“Erm, I think it is. We’re both married with kids.”
Harry held up his left hand. “You’re the only married person in this room.”
“So don’t put me on the spot like this.”
“I’m just telling you how I feel. There’s no crime against that.”
“No, there isn’t. But are you sure that you’re not just saying this because your relationship with Ginny is falling apart?”
“Thanks for your support, Hermione,” Harry drawled.
“I’ve always supported your relationship,” she defended. “Why did you even go out with her? To distract yourself from me?”
“Yes, actually.” Hermione suddenly deflated. “I was going to tell you how I felt on the summer before we went back to Hogwarts for our sixth year. At the Burrow. But you were preoccupied with Ron. And then eventually I got distracted by Ginny. I realised that she was just as good as if not better than you.”
“And then you ended up marrying her,” Hermione reminded him.
“I do love her if that’s what you’re thinking.”
“That’s exactly what I’m thinking, Harry. How could you -?”
“How could I what? How could I save my best friends from heartache by marrying a girl I love? Because that’s all I did. There was no point in me telling you how much I loved you when I’d break your heart, Ron’s and Ginny’s, not to mention lose the only family I had.”
“But what about James, Albus and Lily?”
“Hermione, you’re misunderstanding me. I love them more than I love anything else in the world. Even more than I love you.” Hermione closed her eyes and shook her head. “More than I love Ginny and Ron too. I wouldn’t change them for the world and I’m glad they’re a part of my life. All I’m saying is I wished that you were too. When I married Ginny, I knew it was right and so were the kids. But when our marriage ended -”
“It’s not over.”
“When our marriage ended I knew that it could have been different, with a different girl.”
Hermione shook her head. “It couldn’t have, Harry. I love Ron.”
“I know. But if I’d have had the guts to say something after the Yule Ball …”
“What’s the Yule Ball got to do with anything?”
“I was going to ask you. I was waiting to see if Ron would, but he hadn’t thought of it for a while. Either that or he was too afraid. But then we found out you already had a date, so I left it. You looked amazing and, Viktor or no, I was going to tell you, but then you had an argument with Ron and it was plainly obvious that he loved you.”
“Don’t blame your cowardice on Ron,” Hermione said.
“I’m not,” Harry stressed. “I sacrificed my feelings for you for him. He doesn’t even know any of this and he never will.” He sighed and slid down the wall a little. “I shouldn’t have said anything.”
“You shouldn’t have. Do you realise what kind of situation you’ve put me in?”
“I haven’t -”
“You have. I’m going to have this hanging over me for the rest of my life. You’re separating from Ginny so you can still have these … feelings … but I’m still with Ron.” She paused. “You don’t still have these feelings, do you?” Hermione asked awkwardly.
Harry looked into her brown eyes. “I don’t know. Possibly.”
She sighed. “You do know.”
“Okay, fine. I do. I love you. There, I said it. Are you happy now?”
“I’m distraught! Livid!” she half-shouted. “But you’re my best friend. I could never be mad at you.”
“Such a swell consolation,” Harry said as he sat upright again, holding onto his leg. “It doesn’t matter anyway. I’m too old for this. Too old for fighting dark wizards, just like Ginny said. And I’m too old to be reliving my school crushes, acting like a teenager.”
Hermione muttered her agreement. “You’re not forty yet.”
“Just a couple of years and I’ll be in a retirement home.”
Hermione laughed and Harry let a smile creep onto his face.
“I’m sorry for making you uncomfortable,” he said.
“No, I’m fine. I just imagined that I’d be doing something else on Valentine’s Day.”
“What?” Harry spluttered.
“What?” Hermione asked.
“You said it was Valentine’s Day.”
“But the raid was on the eleventh of February.”
Hermione nodded and held up her wrist, where her watch was tied. “It was. We were brought here about midnight on the twelfth, Elliot was killed yesterday and today is the fourteenth. It’s one-thirty a.m..”
“Oh …” Harry said.
“So it’s the anniversary of the day you proposed to Ginny.”
Hermione shrugged nonchalantly. “Vaguely.” She smiled.
“I bet Ginny’s forgotten.”
“And I bet Ginny’s worried sick about you.”
“Never too late for guilt,” Harry said bitterly.
“You don’t mean that,” Hermione told him.
“I don’t,” he admitted. “But I’m allowed to be mad at her, aren’t I?”
“And I’m allowed to be annoyed at my own stupidity?”
“And I’m allowed to ask you to kiss me?”
“Yes - wait, what?” Hermione leaned away from him and looked at him as though he were two strikes away from being tossed into a loony asylum.
“I know you love Ron, but you love me too.”
“That doesn’t mean that I’ll cheat on him.”
“I’m not asking you to. I’m asking you to help your best friend while he’s bleeding onto the ground. Your best friend who had been living in denial his whole life. I’m not asking you to marry me or … or sleep with me or anything. Just one kiss and I’ll know just a slither of what it would have been like if I wasn’t such a filthy, rotten coward.”
Hermione frowned. “You are a filthy, rotten coward, Harry. And you are my best friend. So you won’t be offended when I say no.”
Harry smiled briefly and then gazed at the ground. “Couldn’t blame me for trying?”
“No. You’re actually very brave to have done all of this.”
“Don’t look so sad,” Hermione consoled. “If it helps, it may have worked out between us.”
“If you weren’t so shy,” she said.
Harry smiled with his mouth, not his eyes and looked at the door.
“We’ll get out of here,” Hermione said as she shuffled back beside him. “Hug?”
He nodded and held out his arm as she buried her face into his shoulder. Spreading from his heart outwards, a warm feeling engulfed his body, the source of it being Hermione’s frame pressed against his, almost twenty three years too late.
“Happy Valentine’s Day, Harry,” she muttered from his shoulder.
Harry leaned away from her and she frowned as she looked at him. “Harry?” she whispered.
Holding his breath, he pushed himself forward, kissing her heart-shaped lips with fervour, lasting no longer than two infinitesimal seconds. She did not move, but at least she didn’t shout or hurt him for his advance. Hermione was simply frozen stiff in the same sitting up position, an inch away from his face where could see every detail of her beauty properly since he arrived in the room.
“Happy Valentine’s Day, Hermione.” Heart guiding him while doing so, he pushed forward again, this time reaching for her arm, and then her waist as he kissed her. Delight spreading over his entire body, he felt her lips move beneath his, a wave of sexual pleasure pulsing through his blood at the idea of her joy. Turning his head to the right, Hermione did the same to the left, moving in synch with his body, moving her arms around his neck. What was going on? Harry had never felt his way since he had been with Ginny. And why was Hermione reciprocating now? Did she realise that their chances of getting out alive were slim or did she just pity him? Or maybe …?
Heart and body asunder, Harry finally parted from his best friend as he felt her arms push him away. “I don’t know why I just did that.”
She moved from on top of him to lean against the wall beside him. She wiped her mouth and gazed into the darkness.
“This doesn’t leave this room, do you hear me?” she said both shocked and afraid.
“I hear you,” Harry said, smiling tenderly.
Hermione looked at him. “Why are you smiling?” she shrieked.
“Because I waited over twenty years for that.”
“And you’ll be waiting for more than twenty years for another,” Hermione said firmly while pulling her fingers through her hair.
“I hope not.”
Hermione rolled her eyes and smiled. “Now look who’s the optimist.”
“I have faith,” Harry mimicked.
Without looking at him, Hermione said, “I’m still staying with Ron.”
“I know you will,” Harry said brightly. “But now you know that if he ever gets too unbearable, I’ll be here for you. I don’t mind a girl with baggage.”
Hermione failed to stop herself from smiling. “Rose and Hugo are not baggage.”
Harry shrugged. “I have three. A lot more to carry. Can you handle that?”
“Harry,” Hermione laughed. “I’m not going to -”
“Not yet,” he said. “Not yet. It’s never too late for a change of heart, Hermione. Look at me and Ginny. I bet everyone thought we’d be together forever.”
“You still might.”
“I don’t think so.”
“But you still have a problem. I’m with Ron.”
“Then I’ll wait.”
“We won’t divorce.”
“I love Ron,” Harry admitted. “So I have the decency not to steal away his wife.”
“What if we never split up? What if you end up waiting forever?”
“Then I’ll wait forever.”
Harry could see the shock on her face at his honesty. Smiling, she leaned over to him and rested her head on his shoulder. Her fingers found their way around his as they lay in silence, soaking in the events that had befallen them.
“I wonder whether Italy beat China in the Quidditch,” Harry whispered to himself while Hermione was falling asleep.
Hermione yawned. “You boys never change.”
A/N: This was possibly the hardest challenge I have ever done. A Harry/Hermione fic after the epilogue? Well, I think it went well. Let me know what you think with a review. It'll make my day if you do! :)
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