Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
I Still Can Remember
I still can remember the last time I cried…
Demelza was a married woman. I don't know why it hit me so hard that night. We had just finished making love and I was holding her. Then the thought started running through my head. This woman was married to my ex-boyfriend and I had foolishly fallen in love with her. They had a child, for Merlin's sake. At that moment I realized for the first time that it would all have to end. There was never any talk of her leaving Dean for me. I was certain that would never happen, but I hadn't really thought about what I expected would happen. I didn't expect to fall in love with her. I didn't even expect that night of experimentation to lead to a five-month affair. And, until that night, I never expected it to end.
That's when I started to cry. I don't cry much, but to realize that I was in love and that I was going to lose her in the same moment was too much for me.
Demelza was surprised. "Ginny, are you… Are you crying?"
"Just a bit."
I didn't want to tell her. I didn't even want to acknowledge the reason verbally. "I'm worried about Harry."
She patted my arm awkwardly. I found it odd that she knew every inch of my skin but had no idea how to comfort me emotionally.
I felt horrible for using Harry in that way, too. I did worry about him a lot then. I still do. No one knows exactly what happened in the final battle, but for a year no one heard from Harry, Hermione, or Ron. There were rumors that they had died, but most people believed that they were still alive somewhere. They finally returned about a month before that night. When asked about what had happened or where they had been, they refused to speak of it. I once asked Ron point blank and he started shaking his head in a disturbing sort of way. "It was horrible" was all he would say. The only thing I've been able to gather was that after the final battle, Harry suffered a mild breakdown and felt that he needed to stay away for some time. Ron and Hermione stayed with him, maintaining the unbreakable trio.
When they finally got back, Harry sought me out. I went off on him for leaving me for nearly three years and expecting me to wait for him. Of course this was before I knew about the breakdown. He told me I was wrong and he completely understood if I had moved on. That actually moved me. Here he was, the hero of the wizarding world, and he was so humble and unassuming. He had no expectation that I would wait for him.
I had waited though. Until that strange, firewhiskey-rich night with Demelza, I hadn't even thought about moving on. So there I was, for the first time ever, happy in a relationship with someone who wasn't Harry, and he waltzes back into my life. I know that it was wrong to think of it in those terms after everything that he had been through, but I did have some resentment toward him. I was upset that he hadn't reached out to me once during that year. I told him so and that I needed time.
A month later I was lying in Demelza's arms weeping quietly. I decided it was time to give Harry another chance
The last time I lied…
Even though I knew our break-up was imminent, I was still surprised when Demelza told me that we needed to stop seeing each other. She was feeling guilty, she said. She loved Dean and couldn't do this anymore. Didn't I love Harry?
I told her yes, I love Harry. That wasn't the lie. The lie was when I said we could still be friends and when I agreed this would be for the best.
She had been so happy when I decided to go on that date with Harry. I think it made it easier for her to end it. I like to think that she loved me too and the break-up was really difficult for her as well.
I understand why she did it. She loved Dean. She loved him so much that I don't even know why she had an affair. I suppose I assumed that she was bi-sexual, like me. It turns out maybe she isn't. We never talked about how our relationship related to the ones we had with men. In fact, we never talked much about the outside world at all.
Demelza and Dean had a very quiet relationship. Few people knew that they were dating until she got pregnant. It turned out that they'd been seeing each other secretly for seven months before that. Although it was a quick, quiet wedding and although it was necessary because of the baby, the marriage worked for them. There was never any resentment or regret, at least not that I know of.
So how did we happen? That's the question, isn't it? Well, we were drunk. It was supposed to be some kind of Gryffindor Quidditch team reunion. I don't know what exactly we were thinking since Harry and Ron were missing in action and Katie was dead, but aside from Demelza and myself, Dean, Angelina, Oliver and the twins were all there. We were supposed to be celebrating three years of Quidditch cups or something like that. It was actually a quite depressing party. Oliver kept bringing up Katie. I got the impression that he'd had a secret crush on her but never got the chance to act on it. After five hours and copious amounts of firewhiskey, Demelza was the only person left at my flat. We got to talking and one thing lead to another. But how could she do that to Dean? How could I when I was saving myself for Harry? Why did it continue?
I remember exactly what happened. I can't speak for Demelza, but I know why I did it. I had lost faith that Harry would ever come home. We discussed the end of the war in a slurring, drunken stupor and she mentioned the rumors that Harry and my brother had died. My family had been so fortunate to all remain alive throughout the war. It was heartbreaking to think that maybe Ron hadn't survived in the end. I got very upset and Demelza hugged me, saying something about being sorry that she had brought it up. I looked up into her eyes and the rest is history.
I also know why the relationship continued on my end even after sobriety set in. I was without my boyfriend, my closest brother, and my best friend. I was looking for someone to fill as many of those holes as possible, and Demelza stepped happily into two of them. As for the brother, I still had five of those. Four, Percy doesn't count anymore. The bottom line is I was lonely and Demelza was there.
I guess when it ended I wasn't so lonely anymore. I had the three most important people back. Ron and Hermione slipped back into their roles easily, and by the break-up, Harry and I were finding our way back to each other. So maybe I didn't need her in my life anymore, but I still wanted her there.
"We can still be friends" is such a beautiful lie. Everyone pretends to believe it but they never ask why they haven't heard from you.
The last time we tried…
Okay, skip forward three months. I hadn't seen Demelza since the night we broke up. It was an accident. Maybe "accident" isn't the right word, but what I mean is it wasn't planned.
It happened at another get-together, this time for the Gryffindor boys. Seamus brought his fiancée, Parvati, Neville brought Hannah Abbott, and, of course, Dean brought Demelza.
Hermione was also there, as Ron's wife. Or was she his fiancée then? I never know how to refer to their relationship during that time. At some point during their time away, they had been married in a small, muggle ceremony with only Harry as a witness. However once they returned, my mother insisted that they have a traditional, wizarding wedding. She claimed they wouldn't be married in the eyes of the community until then and was adamant that everyone refer to them as engaged. I think it was less about tradition and more about the fact that she hadn't been there, though. Hermione, eager to please her new mother-in-law, quickly agreed to Mum's request. So I guess technically she was his wife and his fiancée, but I digress.
Of all the people there, Hannah was the only one who wasn't a Gryffindor. In fact, she seemed a little uncomfortable sitting there alone on the couch. I went over and sat next to her, hoping I could help her feel at ease. I asked her about how she and Neville had gotten together, but as her eyes lit up and she started talking my mind wandered to Demelza. She was sitting in my line of sight talking with Ron. Our eyes met and at that moment I felt as if I was sliding down a slippery slope. Suddenly, I could feel her again. If I closed eyes, I could pretend like nothing had changed, if only for a few seconds. Then I looked at Harry and my heart sank to my stomach. I felt horrible for even thinking about someone else. I finally had everything I'd wanted since I was ten years old and I still wasn't satisfied. What was wrong with me? I put Demelza out of my mind and focused on Hannah's story.
A half hour later, I was in the kitchen getting more ice when Demelza came in. To this day I don't know if she had followed me there or if it had been a coincidence. All I can remember of the short, awkward conversation that followed was her saying, "I love Dean." I responded with, "I love Harry," and then we were kissing. I want to say that she initiated it, but I honestly can't remember.
A lot of thoughts flowed through my head during that kiss. One, it was wrong to do this in Harry's kitchen. Two, it felt so right and natural to hold her like this again, to feel her hands and lips all over my body. Three, if I had to choose, I wouldn't give up Harry for her. Four, I can't lose Harry because of her. Finally I pulled away. I still loved her and I still wanted her, but it wasn't enough anymore. It didn't matter in that moment.
I opened my mouth to say something, but just then Harry came in. The fact that he didn't realize how awkward the situation was made it that much more awkward. As he talked, I avoided both his and Demelza's eyes. Before Harry left the kitchen, he smoothed my hair out of my face. I finally met his gaze; he looked happier than I'd seen him in a long time. After a few moments, I managed to say, "I'll be out in a minute."
When he was gone, I cleared my throat. "Demelza, I—"
"Shh." She put a finger to my lips. "You don't have to say anything."
I took her hand in mine. "Yes, I do. This can't happen anymore. It's better if we don't… if we just don't." I let go of her hand. "I'm happy with Harry."
"I thought I was happy with Dean until I met you!"
Three months before I would have been thrilled to hear her say that, but right then it was the last thing I wanted to hear. Suddenly, I too had a love life that was complicated by these feelings.
"I'm sorry, Demelza." I turned to leave.
"Wait, Ginny. Don't go yet."
"Er, well, I promised Harry."
"Oh." She gave a bitter sort of chuckle. "I guess that's it then."
"What do you mean?"
"You're choosing Harry. That's all I need to know."
I was still a little confused, and opened my mouth to question her further, but then I decided to leave it at that. I walked back to the party and sat with Harry.
A year later I married Harry and Demelza left Dean. She's living with some other woman now, and yes, sometimes I wonder what might have been. But then I think about what has been and I know that I made the right choice.