Disclaimer: I do not own anything 'Harry Potter,' and I don't make a dime off of it. I write for nothing but enjoyment.
A/N: This story is not for Ginny lovers, so be warned.
It was another quiet night in the Emergency Admissions area at St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. Hermione liked quiet nights. It gave her a chance to catch up on her reading. She hadn't really fallen behind in her studies… after all, when she wasn't at the hospital, she was at home. Home in her tiny one room flat… alone… reading.
All her friends said she has a boring life. Hermione didn't mind having a boring life. Boring was a refreshing change from what her life was like only two years prior. 'Boring' didn't describe her six years at Hogwarts, 'Boring' certainly didn't describe the three and a half years that they searched for Voldemort's Horcruxes, and nobody in their proper state of mind could call the last battle where Harry finally finished Voldemort 'Boring.'
In fact, her life had been anything but boring before two years ago, not since she was eleven years old when she had first met 'The Boy Who Lived.' She smiled inwardly as she recalled her first train ride to school. She had tried not to show her excitement when she first saw him sitting in that compartment with Ron, but her nervousness at actually meeting the famous Harry Potter crept through her façade and she ended up babbling on and on about…
"Books." She said aloud, snapping the book she was currently reading closed. The things that gave her comfort and confidence while growing up as a child, were also the things now making her life, as Ron so thoughtfully put it, 'dreadfully, tearfully boring.'
Her thoughts returned to that first meeting. She remembered that 'spell' that Ron had tried on his rat, the rat that caused a lifetime's worth of pain in a small boy's life. Of course, the 'spell' didn't work. She knew it as soon as he started that silly incantation. She wanted so desperately for Harry to ask her to do more 'real' magic for him. She had told him that she had tried spells that 'did' work, and even repaired his broken glasses for him, but after struggling to stop herself from babbling about books a minute before, she was not about to risk offending them by trying to show off too much. She had the impression that the boys were getting rather annoyed with her as it was. No, as she thought about it, only one of the boys appeared to be annoyed with her… the redhead, Ron.
Maybe if she wasn't so boring her life would have turned out differently. Maybe, if she didn't always have her nose stuck in a book she'd have time to get involved in a relationship with someone. Maybe if she were a little prettier, a little more exciting, a little more like Ginny… then just maybe things would have turned…
She was snapped from her daydreaming by a familiar voice at the door. "Hello Hermione, I think I need your help… again."
Her best friend, Harry Potter, was leaning against the doorjamb, looking flushed and sweaty.
"Oh, Harry," she sighed sympathetically, "what did she do now?"
"Honestly, I don't know," he answered, "we were in the middle of another of our arguments when she snapped again. She packed a bag of her stuff and headed for the door."
"Again?" sighed Hermione.
"Yeah, but this time, I told her if she walked out the door, she shouldn't bother coming back. I turned around to head back upstairs, and she muttered some kind of curse behind my back and stormed out. I felt ok at the time, I thought she missed me, but then I started feeling… I dunno… panicky, I can't describe it. Then I started feeling sick, so I figured I'd better come to see you. You always know what to do."
Hermione smiled inwardly at his last comment. She was glad, that after all these years, he could still depend on her, and he still trusted her. She had already drawn her wand out and was waving it in intricate patterns around Harry's head, neck and upper torso while asking, "Hit you while your back was turned? Typical… Well, I'm sure she'll be back. She always comes back." Then Hermione thought to herself, 'Of course, she'll go back, the little princess couldn't survive without Harry's money.'
"Yeah," Harry sighed, "I suppose, but she was really furious this time. I've never managed to get her quite this angry before."
"What was the argument about this time?" asked Hermione while continuing to examine him.
"The usual…" Harry answered.
"The 'starting a family' one…" Hermione already knew what the 'usual' argument was. She had heard both sides of the story on too many different occasions. Harry, of course, had always wanted a family to call his own, while Ginny, who had promised Harry children before they were married, had changed her tune completely after the wedding. She didn't want the fuss, the responsibility, the pain, or the stretch marks. She liked her fun and freedom, the fun and freedom that Harry was paying for. Yes, all Ginny wanted was the money, fame and power that came with being Harry Potter's wife. She got the huge house that she wanted, the throng of servants and house elves that she wanted, the expensive designer robes, the extravagant parties, and all the friends and lovers that Harry's money could buy, everything that she wanted.
Hermione never had the heart to tell Harry about the 'lovers' part.
All Harry had asked for in return was a family of his own. All he wanted was a woman to love and to love him in return. All he wanted was a horde of little Potters running around, causing mischief, and being loved by a father who was never loved as a child himself.
Hermione would love nothing more than to trade places with Ginny. Not for the houses, servants or parties, but for the love, for the family that Harry had always wanted, the family that Hermione would sacrifice everything she had to be a part of.
"Hmmm, I can't seem to find anything wrong. Do you remember what the incantation was?"
Harry thought for a moment, "She muttered it so softly that I barely heard it, it could have been something like 'surrilis' or 'serritus,' I didn't recognize it, and as I said, I barely heard…"
Hermione's face darkened, "Was it 'Scectillious'?"
"It could have been, I'm not completely sure, but it sounds close." Said Harry, while he watched Hermione make odd wand movements over his lower abdomen.
She stopped the movements and whispered, "Oh, my! Oh no!" A look of horror washed over Hermione's face, "She wouldn't… She wouldn't dare!" Harry! How long ago did this happen?"
Harry was taken aback by the seriousness of her voice. He checked his watch and said, "It couldn't have been more than an hour ago…"
Hermione grabbed Harry's wrist and pulled him from the room, "Hurry! Maybe we're not too late!" She dashed down the hall towards the hospital's potions lab, with Harry following a few steps behind.
She burst through the door and announced to the three people who were working there, "Get out! Now!"
They were about to voice their objection to being ordered about by a junior healer when they noticed who had stepped into the room behind her. They quickly gathered their projects and fled the lab.
Hermione wasted no time in setting up the equipment. She frantically raced from her cauldron to retrieve the various components from the many shelves and cabinets around the room.
"What's wrong, Hermione?" asked Harry, who was starting to worry as he saw the desperation growing on her face. "What did she do to me?"
She brushed a stray curl that had escaped her bun away from her sweaty face as she worked. "The Scectillious charm is used when… It's a charm that…"
Harry at first thought it was the sweat of concentration running down her face, until he realized that she was crying.
Hermione's voice was cracking as she spoke, "How could she! That selfish little… That evil woman!" She wiped the tears from her eyes with her sleeve and squeaked, "I never would have thought she'd stoop so low!"
Harry's face turned ash white when he realized what Ginny might have done to him, "Hermione, what is this Scectillious charm?"
Hermione's shoulders dropped and she spoke in barely a whisper, "It's a contraception charm. It's a charm men use when they've had enough children." She then burst out sobbing, "Harry, it's meant to be permanent! Oh, Harry, I'm so sorry!"
Harry felt his heart drop into his stomach. He reached out his hand and steadied himself on a nearby desk. He didn't say anything, but Hermione could see the devastated look on his face.
This look made her cry even harder. "I can't believe she'd risk Azkaban over her petty selfishness!"
"Azkaban? What do you mean?"
Hermione added the last few ingredients to the cauldron and cast another heating charm under it. "It's illegal for a woman to use that spell. Only the man is supposed to make the decision to sterilize himself. The same goes for the Sancticillious charm for women. It's a trip to Azkaban for men to cast that one."
"WHAT?" Yelled Harry, "What did you just say?"
Hermione looked up from the cauldron and saw the fury behind Harry's eyes, "I said the Sancticillious charm is only to be used by the woman herself. It's the permanent sterility charm for women, just like Scectillious is for men." Upon seeing the flare of fury in his eyes replaced by a look of total despair, she looked back down and concentrated on the potion.
Harry sat on the desk that had been supporting him and buried his face in his hands.
Hermione continued brewing the potion in silence, not looking up from the cauldron that she was feverishly stirring.
"She said it was temporary." Harry whispered, "She said it was reversible. She used that spell on our wedding night."
Hermione stopped stirring, hung her head and placed her hands on the table, trying to support the weight that her legs didn't seem capable of at the moment. She took a deep breath, and then stood up straight. "It's ready, Harry." She said as she poured the contents of the cauldron into a goblet. "You can't drink it here, come on."
Hermione stepped to the door and waited for Harry to follow. She sadly watched as he wiped his eyes and stood unsteadily.
They walked to a nearby room and Hermione hastily conjured a bed for him. After helping Harry get undressed and into a comfortable position on the bed, she closed and locked the door, then cast a series of silencing charms around the room. She then started tying his hands and legs to the corners of the bed.
When she noticed Harry looking at her questioningly, she told him, "Harry… The potion will have some strange effects on you, and it is only half of the treatment. I also have to cast a counter-charm on your… on you." She blushed briefly, then sighed and gave him an apologetic look. "Harry, this is going to be very, very painful, and there is no guarantee it will work." She dropped her gaze to the floor and nervously bit on her lower lip, "I'm so sorry, Harry. I wish there was another way."
Harry just sullenly nodded.
"When you're ready, drink the potion, then I'll start the counter-charm."
Harry downed the contents of the goblet, took a deep breath and laid back into the pillow.
After restraining his remaining hand, Hermione studied her watch, counting the seconds, "Ok, Harry, get ready… Oh, I'm so sorry!"
Hermione pointed her wand at Harry's groin and cried, "Lashissorcia!' An opaque, pink beam of light flashed from her wand and connected with Harry.
Harry had thought the Cruciatus was bad, but the pain that now shot from his groin up through his chest made that curse seem like a tickling charm.
Harry was thrashing violently on the bed. Through his own blurred vision, he saw that her hands were trembling as she tried to hold the beam from her wand steady on him. He could barely make out Hermione's face. Her eyes were closed, tears were streaming down her cheeks, and he could see her mouth moving, but could only hear his own screaming.
Suddenly, a cloud blanketed his thoughts as the potion was apparently taking effect. He could hear voices in his head, some whispering distantly, some softly spoke random phrases that drifted in and out, but there was one voice that he could clearly hear, the cry of Hermione's voice echoing in the back of his mind saying, 'Oh, Harry, I'm so sorry, please forgive me, I'm so, so sorry! I don't like doing this! I hate hurting you! I love you so much, please forgive me! Oh, please don't hate me for doing this to you! I love you…'
That was the last he 'heard' before the blackness of unconsciousness enveloped him.
After untying Harry's hands and legs, Hermione collapsed into a chair that she had conjured next to his bed. She was exhausted. Harry had passed out from the pain five minutes into the treatment, a blessing for him, she thought.
She rubbed her red, swollen eyes and stared vacantly at a random spot on the wall. She silently prayed that the treatment worked. She knew that a counter-charm had to be performed within two hours of the original charm for there to be any chance of a successful reversal. He said it was about an hour before he arrived at the hospital, and it took her about forty minutes to make the potion. She sincerely hoped they made it in time.
"But what did it matter?" she thought, "If Ginny really did sterilize herself, Harry's chances at a family of his own was gone anyway. She didn't have to do it to him, too. Was it out of spite? Was it the fear of him having a child with someone else? Having a heir to take her money if Harry should die?"
Hermione didn't notice the frown that appeared on Harry's face.
Harry would never cheat on Ginny, Hermione was sure of that. Ginny, of course, didn't have those silly morals to get in her way. She had heard all about those 'parties' that Ginny threw at their beach house while Harry was away. Being an auror often had him spending days away from his home, so there were beach house parties often thrown.
The frown on Harry's face deepened, and still went unnoticed.
Of course, with him being an auror, wouldn't you think he'd notice what was happening under his own nose? Hermione supposed not… since the war, Harry was much too trusting of the people close to him for his own good. He got used to trusting the people close to him. He had to trust his friends. He would have never survived the war if he didn't.
"Harry deserves better than that," thought Hermione bitterly, as she sat with a frown, "It's really not fair to him."
She thought about how, just a few hours before, she wondered how her life would have turned out if she were more like Ginny. The thought of that now was turning her stomach.
Still, she wished that she could do it all over again. She would have done so many things differently. She would have tried harder to be more pleasant around him, paid more attention to him. She would have believed him and helped him more in their last year at Hogwarts. She certainly would have worked up the courage to tell him exactly how she felt about him so many years ago, how she still feels about him. Now, regretfully, it was too late… much too late.
The frown disappeared from Harry's face.
She felt her heart breaking inside as tears welled up into her eyes. Her heart was breaking for Harry's sham of a marriage, it was breaking because he would never have the family that he wanted more than anything in the world, it was breaking for all the lies and deception that Harry had to take from the people that were supposed to love him.
Her heart was breaking because she felt it was all her fault.
Maybe, if she had made more of an effort not to be so bloody boring, he would have noticed her as something more than his best friend, his favorite little bookworm… Maybe if she told him long ago that she loved him more than life itself, none of this misery would have fell on his shoulders, or maybe having Harry being in love with her was just never meant to be, even if she wasn't so boring.
"I guess I'll have to be content to remain Harry's favorite little boring bookworm." She thought sadly as she brushed the unshed tears from her eyes.
She looked over to Harry and was surprised to see a smile on his face.
"My 'favorite little boring bookworm?'" mumbled Harry, "I like the sound of that."
Hermione stared at him with a shocked expression, "How did you…"
"Do you know what the effects of that potion you gave me are?" asked Harry, wincing as he sat up in the bed. The pain in his abdomen was still very much there.
"Well," she said warily, "tissue regeneration that's centered on your, umm, groin area," her face blushed a pleasant pink, "that's the primary effect. The secondary effect is an anesthetic, quite a strong one, at that. There are other side effects that vary from person to person, but it's impossible to tell what they would be, and I've never heard of any that are particularly dangerous. But why…?"
Hermione's eyes widened as the realization hit her. She closed her eyes and thought, "You can read my mind?" It was more a tentative statement than a question.
A moment of silence passed. She was just about to breathe a sigh of relief when she heard Harry say, "Yes, I can."
A squeak escaped her throat as she covered her mouth with her hands, "Oh no! Oh, I'm so sorry Harry… When did you…? How much did you hear?" Her eyes widened again in horror as she recalled what she had been thinking while Harry laid there, "Oh my... Oh, no!"
Hermione jumped up from the chair and dashed to the door. She struggled with the doorknob for a few seconds before remembering the locking charms she had placed on it. She reached for her wand, but her arms were caught in Harry's hands. She shrieked in embarrassment as she struggled against his grip, then admitting defeat, she spun around and collapsed into Harry's chest and started sobbing.
Thoughts started racing through her mind, "Oh no, he's going to hate me! He's not supposed to find out that I love him… Ack! He can hear this! Oh no! Bloody Hell, he's only in his boxers!"
She squeaked loudly and started struggling again, but by then he had his arms wrapped tightly around her, holding her to his chest while trying to calm her down.
"It's ok, Hermione," he whispered to her, "it's not your fault. I'm the one who has made all the mistakes."
She stopped struggling and listened, her wet face still buried in his chest.
"I heard enough to realize how wrong I've been, about a lot of things. You were right, I do know about Ginny and the 'parties' at the beach house, I knew all along. I knew all about the lies and deceit, and I knew why you couldn't tell me. There's only two new bits of information I got tonight, one was the fact that my 'loving wife…'" those two words were spit from his mouth like venom, "was so selfish and conceited that she's go so far as to forever deny me children just to preserve her sex appeal and her control of the money."
"The other fact…" Harry paused, brought her tear-stained face away from his chest, and then looked into her eyes, "was the one that I should have seen years ago. I'm the one who should be apologizing to you. You were right about so many things. I thought I knew love with Cho. Well, we both know how pathetically wrong I was there…"
Hermione nodded and gave him a small, knowing smile.
"Then there came Ginny. I thought I knew what love was then, too." Harry laughed bitterly, "Hormones and lust... Endless days of snogging and shagging, that was love, right? I didn't pull my face far enough away from hers to see who she really was, what she was really like. By the time I truly knew what love was, and who it was that I was truly in love with, I was stuck."
Hermione's smile faltered slightly as she wondered what he was getting at.
"I finally learned that loving someone means you can depend on them, no matter what happens, trust them with your very soul… To be truly in love with someone is when you know you'd die if they were removed from your life, and you'd gladly give your life to protect them and keep them safe. Yes, the second thing I learned tonight is the fact that I know now what I should have known so many years ago, because the feelings I have for you have never changed. Knowing now that you feel the same way about me as I do about you, I should have done something about it years ago, I should have done this years ago."
Harry bent down and gently placed his lips onto hers.
As their lips met, Hermione's eyes opened wide in momentary panic, and then slowly closed as she slid comfortably into his embrace and deepened the kiss.
Neither one knew how long the kiss lasted, their lips only separated when they ran out of breath. Hermione looked up into his eyes and said, "You have no idea how long I've wanted that to happen."
"Oh, yes I do…" he answered while tapping his temple and giving her a knowing smile.
She buried her face back into his chest, "It's not nice poking around in other people's heads, Harry."
"It's not something I tried to do, but I'm not sorry at all that it happened. I think that potion is wearing off now, anyway, I'm not really getting clear thoughts anymore… I think it's just emotions now." He said and held her more tightly.
She smiled into his chest and said, I'm not sorry about it either, what I am sorry about is that I never had the courage to tell you sooner… I just thought you'd never look at 'plain old, boring Herm…"
Harry cut her off, "You know as well as I do that looks aren't everything, and I don't know what you're worried about, anyway. I've always thought you were beautiful, you know, I've told you that more than once… and another thing, I've never, ever thought you were boring."
She sighed and pressed closer into his chest, but he gave a slight groan of pain when she did.
"Oh, I'm sorry, Harry! I forgot!" She backed away from him, took his arm and helped him back to the bed. "Here, lie down… You need to spend the night here, and I have duties to perform, I'm not through with my shift for another few hours, but I'll be back to check on you. Please, try to get some sleep, we'll talk more about things later."
The rest of Hermione's shift passed without incident, it was still a quiet night. She filed her report for the night, reluctantly noting the condition and treatment of her best friend.
She opened the door to Harry's room and peeked in. She was surprised to see that he was still awake, lying on the bed and staring at the ceiling with a strange look on his face that she couldn't quite read.
"Harry?" she asked tentatively, "Haven't you slept at all?"
"No, I haven't," said Harry, "I can't sleep here. I've just been thinking..."
Hermione noticed that his unreadable expression hadn't changed. She patiently waited a few moments for him to continue, but his silence prompted her to ask, "About…?"
"Thinking about what I'm going to do about Ginny,"
Harry's expression did change at this point, to a frown with such sadness in it that reached straight into Hermione's heart.
"I'm going home tonight," Harry paused, and then continued slowly, "I'm going to give Ginny a chance…"
In that one, single second in time as those words hit her, her heart stopped and a flood… a seemingly impossible number of emotions tore through Hermione.
Surprise was the first. How on Earth could he forgive Ginny for what she tried to do… for what she, quite probably, really did do? She also felt anger, anger at Ginny for having such a complete hold on Harry's heart that he actually could forgive her for, what seemed to Hermione to be, something so completely unforgivable. Another emotion, oddly enough, was the sense of pride that she always had for Harry. She was strangely proud of him for still having the one thing she loved most about him… Faith. His faith in his friends, in his abilities and, incredibly, faith in the person he chose to marry, but how could he hold such faith in a person who was so unfaithful?
The last emotion hit her hard. Sadness. Sadness for Harry, that he was going back to condemn himself to a life of misery. Sadness for Ginny, that she's married to a man that has admitted that he doesn't love her. She'll play her games, she'll be on his arm at social gatherings, she'll have wealth, power and possessions, but she'll never have his heart. Finally, there was the sadness for herself. Sadness in the knowledge that she loved Harry, and knew that he loved her as well, but now she would never have him, not that she ever thought she had a prayer before that night.
She felt a piece of her soul die along with the hope that she held for the last few hours. As he spoke those words, she realized that she was, once again, Harry's favorite little brainy, bloody boring bookworm.
Surprisingly, even with the avalanche of emotions that, in that brief instant, had buried her, her expression hadn't changed.
Her face didn't betray her…
…until Harry finished his sentence.
"… to collect all the things she brought into the marriage and get the hell out of my house," Harry directed his eyes to Hermione and saw the shock on her face, then continued to correct himself, "out of our house."
He watched her for a moment, she stood frozen in the doorway. The shocked expression didn't leave her face. He felt a pang of sadness in his heart.
"Well," he said as he felt his confidence waning, "that is, of course, if you want to be with me… I just figured… I'll be going to see my lawyer in the morning… I mean I'd understand if you didn't want to… not right away, or… ummm…"
Hermione shook herself out of the stupor in which she found herself. The understanding of what he had just said finally sunk in past the shock. In two giant strides and a leap, she landed on top of Harry and hugged him as tightly as she dared, "Oh, Harry," she breathed to him, "I can't believe it! Do you mean it?"
Harry smiled and kissed her, "You bet I do!"
Hermione's smile faltered a bit. "Ginny's going to be furious, you know… If you divorce her, she's not going to settle for a bag of clothes and a pat on the bum as she walks out the door, she's gotten too used to those 'parties.' She's going to try to get as much from you as she can."
Harry gave her a sly smile, which Hermione took the wrong way. "No, Harry! I'm not interested in your money! I just don't want to see you get…"
"I know, Hermione," he interrupted, "but she can't cause any trouble. She'll take what I give her and be thankful for it." She gave him an uncertain look.
"Think about it, Hermione, you practically said so yourself… She'll take what I give her, and if she tries to get more, well, how much money do you think she could spend while in a cell in Azkaban?"
This reminded Hermione of something she needed to do. She looked at Harry, unsure of how to approach the subject. He noticed her concern, and asked, "What's wrong?"
"Well, it's the charm she used… If we didn't make it in time, then you aren't going to be producing any new, live… ummm…"
"Seed?" suggested Harry, who smiled at her embarrassment despite the gravity of the conversation.
"Yes, well," she continued, trying to sound as professional as possible while showing him that hope for a family wasn't lost, "we won't know if the counter-charm was successful for several weeks. You see, even if the counter-charm didn't work, you still have live… seed in you right now. You could get a sample and preserve it, and use it later when you're ready." Hermione pulled a small, empty bottle from the pocket of her smock and held it out to him.
Harry reddened in understanding of what she was saying. He nodded, took the bottle and as she left him alone in the room, he said, "Thanks… for everything."
One month later, Hermione was in her future bedroom, or it will be her bedroom once she clears out the remainder of the 'artifacts' strewn throughout the room. With a wave of her wand, she sent the entire mess of lotions, potions and perfumes from the top of the vanity into a nearby waste bucket, and smiled as the bucket burped loudly. She had better not hear that bucket complain about being hungry for a long time.
She wondered to herself how one person could need so much… stuff. Rows of dressers packed to capacity with frilly bras and knickers, shelves upon shelves of beauty products, and room-sized closets full of designer gowns, dresses, robes and assorted outfits. Even if the previous owner had worn three of these outfits a day, without ever wearing the same thing twice, she would certainly die of old age before getting halfway through them, and this is after she had left the house with sixteen of her favorite house elves, each dragging a large trunk full of clothes and jewelry behind them.
Hermione could hardly wait for the people from the St. Mungo's Relief fund to arrive. They were certainly in for a surprise when they see all the clothing that was being donated.
Hermione's thoughts drifted to the previous week's events. She had been summoned to the Ministry of Magic to give testimony for a Mr. Harry Potter. She remembered the smug look on Ginny's face as she importantly proclaimed her right to three-quarters of Harry's liquid assets, and brazenly demanded that all their real estate be immediately sold, with the profits split between Harry and her… Well, except for the beach house, which she tearfully claimed the right to, seeing how she spent most of her married life there, practically abandoned by a 'selfish, neglectful, and abusive husband' who valued his work over her happiness.
Harry's lawyer replaced Ginny's smugness with outrage as she heard the counter-offer, she can take her clothes and a fixed one hundred thousand Galleons.
Ginny immediately ranted and screamed at her own lawyer, who was laughing pompously and stated that the counter-offer was preposterous, and he had a good mind to double the demands, after all, his client had to be kept in the style of life that she had become accustomed to in her 'long' years of marriage!
Harry's lawyer and the justice minister both quietly waited for the rampage to die down, each wearing a pleasant smile.
After the shouting had ceased, Harry's lawyer calmly stated that her demands, while a bit extreme, would normally have been agreed to… if it weren't for the presence of the 'extenuating circumstances.'
Both the faces of Ginny and her pompous lawyer fell. Neither one expected to hear what would come next.
The justice minister called Hermione forward to give her testimony. She related, in the most professional manner she could summon, "Mr. Potter arrived at St. Mungo's Hospital on October third of this year at nine thirty-five in the evening, suffering from the effects of the Scectillious charm, a spell that permanently sterilizes males if it is not reversed immediately. Mr. Potter underwent an extremely lengthy and painful treatment in an attempt to reverse the effects. The effectiveness of that treatment is unknown at this time, but due to the fact that Mr. Potter didn't know what this charm was that Mrs. Potter had cast upon him, which resulted in the delay of the treatment and makes his chances of recovery around fifteen percent." She turned to the minister and stated, "As you know, Minister, it is illegal for a male to cast that particular charm on anyone but himself, and it is illegal for any female to cast it at all."
There was a collective gasp, followed by angry muttering that echoed around the chamber as Hermione returned to her seat.
Hermione recalled the way Ginny's face dropped in shock when she learned of the seriousness of the charges that were prepared against her, and the look of fear that replaced the shock when she heard that the penalty for casting the Scectillious charm on an unwilling male was punishable by, at the minimum, fifteen years in Azkaban Prison. Ginny's face became even paler when the court was informed that the maximum sentence was fifty years, which is what Harry would recommend if his counter-offer were refused.
Hermione watched coolly when Ginny, upon hearing the possible punishment, rushed to Harry and firmly planted herself on his lap and wantonly ground her hips into his groin, saying in the sweetest voice she could muster, "Darling, you won't let them take me to prison, would you? I know you aren't serious about this divorce thingy… I knew you wouldn't mind about that silly spell, I know you want me to stay slim and sexy for you, and we could just adopt a little brat in ten years or so!"
Even Molly Weasley, whose eyes had been shooting daggers at Harry since she arrived with her daughter, blanched at the way Ginny was acting, realizing that maybe, just maybe, her daughter wasn't the victim here as she had claimed.
Seeing that her 'charms' weren't working as Harry was trying to push her off of him, she played what she thought was her trump card, "Don't you love me anymore? I still love you…"
Harry coldly glared at her as he finally managed to pry her away, then gave a wicked, simpering smile and said to her, "I'll be willing to drop the charges altogether… If you forget the galleons and just take your clothes… They're worth much more than the money I'm offering, anyway."
An hour later, the hearing was over. Ginny had her clothes, and they both had their freedom. Hermione tried not to laugh at the look on Ginny's face as she left the divorce hearing. She honestly did try, but failed miserably.
Hermione had just said 'goodbye' to the St. Mungo's representatives, who were positively beaming with excitement at the generosity of the Great Harry Potter, when he arrived home from work.
He rushed up, kissed her, and said, "Hermione! What are you doing here?"
She stared at him for a moment with a silly smile on her lips, seemingly lost in thought, 'Mmmm, I can't wait until I'm greeted like that every time he comes home.'
"Oh!" she said, snapping out of her thoughts, "I was just here with the St. Mungo's relief people, you know, clearing out stuff. I told you yesterday I'd be here helping…"
"That's right," he said hitting himself in the forehead and smiling, "Sorry, I forgot about that. I thought for a moment that you might have more changes to the wedding plans… We're still on for next week, aren't we?"
"Are you sure you don't think we're rushing into this? I'd understand if you wanted to wait…"
Harry smiled warmly and took her in his arms, "Don't you think we've waited too long as it is?"
She didn't answer, she just hugged him tighter, enjoying the warmth of his embrace.
"Well, I'm here for another reason, too, I mean aside from meeting with the St. Mungo's people." She said with a small smile as she pulled back slightly and looked into his eyes.
"Oh? And what might that reason be?"
She blushed slightly while admiring the diamond ring on her finger, the ring that he had presented her the previous night, "You see, it's been a month since the counter-charm was performed, and I think it's time we find out if it worked."
"Oh…" his smile disappeared as he sighed and held out his hand, "Well, give me the bottle…"
"Bottle? What bottle?" she asked with a very un-Hermioneish grin as she took Harry's hand and led him towards the freshly cleaned out bedroom, "There's more than one way to find out, you know…"
A/N: Whether you like it or hate it, please leave a review and let me know if there's anything I can do to improve my writing. If I can make you happy by writing, you can make me happy by reviewing.