A/N: Due to popular demand, here's the epilogue to "Harry's Boring Bookworm." It still amazes me that people would like to see poor Ginny with a life sentence in Azkaban!
To everyone who reviewed this, I want to say thanks… you people are amazing and a few of you even made me laugh! (You really want to strangle her?) I understand how you feel, why do you think I'm 'Angry' Hermione?
Hermione was sitting in her small office at the St. Mungo's Emergency Admittance Ward. It was another quiet night, perfect for sitting peacefully at her desk and studying the latest advances in the healing arts. She picked up her quill, scratched out a few notes on the newest evolution of the Tergeo cleansing spell, which was specially adapted for wound cleaning, and then casually turned to the next page in her massive book. She was absently running her hand over her swollen belly, so preoccupied with what she was reading that she wasn't aware of the stupid grin that was fixed on her face.
Hannah Abbot was walking by Hermione's office when she glanced in and saw her sitting there. She had seen hundreds of pregnant women, and knew very well the way they always seemed to have that 'glow,' but Hermione was positively radiant as she quietly read her book while dreamily running her fingers over her belly. A broad smile broke out and Hannah squealed in delight as she ran up to Hermione and gave her a huge hug.
"Oh, Hermione, I'm so bloody jealous! You look absolutely smashing! Merlin, the change that has come over you in the last year is incredible! Married life sure seems to be agreeing with you."
Hermione beamed at her friend, blushing furiously, "Yes, I suppose it is. Honestly, I couldn't imagine being any happier!"
Hannah gave her a last, quick hug before striding to the door, "I've got to finish my rounds, do say 'Hello' to Harry for me, won't you?"
Hermione smiled and waved, "I will, see you!"
Hermione really couldn't be any happier. The last year of her life had been a whirlwind of love and romance. They each took a month off from work right after the wedding and honeymooned at a secluded beach cottage in the south of France. They never saw much of the beach during that month.
Upon their return, they proceeded to tear through their possessions, cleansing their lives of everything that wasn't 'Harry and Hermione.' They sold off most of the Potter real estate, but only after they 'christened' each house. The only house they didn't 'break in' was the infamous beach house. Neither one of them ever felt the urge to go there. They kept the modest home in Godric's Hollow, (Harry couldn't bring himself to part with his parents' cottage there,) the Black estate at Grimmauld Place, (Harry hated the house, but still wanted to keep it,) and the Potter ancestral estate, (which was more of a museum than a home.) The place they chose to live in was a small house they bought together in Hogsmeade, that is, until they found out she was pregnant. They rented a ground level flat in London within walking distance of St. Mungo's where they both would stay until their baby arrived.
Hermione was thrilled to discover that Harry wasn't comfortable living in the huge Potter Mansion, the only reason he did live there before was at the insistence of Ginny. At one point, Hermione called every house elf from every Potter estate to a meeting. She made the mistake of offering the battalion of house elves their freedom. A few of the elves just squeaked and fainted dead away, several others fell to the floor in inconsolable tears, and every other elf simultaneously disappeared on the spot. It took a month of searching to find all the elves' hiding places. Once they were all found, not one of them would accept freedom, vacations or pay. Much to Hermione's chagrin, every elf considered it the ultimate honor to be in the employ of not only great Harry Potter, but also the equally great Hermione Potter, and none of them could be swayed.
The infamous 'beach house' was eventually given to Ginny, along with a healthy amount of Galleons. Harry couldn't stay mad at Ginny, and in a way, still loved her, but not in the way she wanted him to. After all, she was still a part of Harry's adopted family, and it wouldn't look very good for Harry's ex-wife to be seen starving on the streets, although she would be dressed spiffingly while lying in the gutter. Harry had even met with Ginny ten months after the divorce. She seemed to be genuinely repentant for what she tried to do to him and for what she did do to herself. The only thing that went 'wrong' at that meeting was when Harry tried to give her a friendly kiss good-bye, she grabbed tightly onto his hair and tried to deepen it. Harry pushed her away, he would have none of it. Hermione really couldn't fault Harry for forgiving Ginny. His heart was one of the things she had always loved about him. She wouldn't change him for the world.
After Hannah left, Hermione turned her attention back to her book. She lightly flipped to the next page and her eyes widened. A new charm was developed to treat magical burns! That would surely help Charlie Weasley in his work with dragons! She let out a squeak while excitedly grabbing her quill from the table. Her eyes narrowed in concentration as she started scribbling furiously onto her parchment, being careful to clearly diagram the exact wand movement for the charm. Her quill abruptly stopped mid-stroke when she heard a familiar chuckle from the doorway.
"There's my favorite little boring bookworm! Merlin, I'll never tire of seeing you get so excited when you're learning something new." Harry was standing in the doorway wearing his auror robes, his arms were folded across his chest, and a huge, lopsided grin was splayed across his face. Hermione thought he never looked sexier.
"Harry!" beamed Hermione as she stood up quickly, well, as quickly as her distended abdomen would allow, and waddled towards her husband.
"I'll never tire of seeing that smile of yours, either." He said as he stepped into the room and closed the door behind him. He met her halfway across the room and caught her up into a passionate embrace.
She pulled away from him and looked him up and down, as if expecting to find some evidence of an injury, "What are you doing here? You're supposed to be on duty, is anything wrong?"
"Tonks… She got caught in the doors to the lifts in the Ministry building. They say she'll be fine, so while I was here, I thought I'd stop by for a visit." He gave her another quick hug and a kiss and helped her back to her chair before seating himself next to her. She rested her hands on her belly and stared into his eyes, getting lost in the green pools.
Harry smiled and said, "Yeah, sometimes I can hardly believe it, myself."
Hermione's eyes widened and her mouth fell open.
He let out a small laugh and said, "No, I'm not reading your mind again, it's just that it was kinda obvious to me what you were thinking. I was thinking just about the same thing."
She closed her mouth and smiled, letting out a little sigh at the same time. That ability they always seemed to share sometimes made other people around them uncomfortable. Had they always been able to read each other so well? Did the side-effect of the potion the previous year just enhance what they already could do? She sometimes wished she could read his thoughts, but realized that there was nothing he could think that she couldn't read in his eyes anyway, and the time they've been married just seemed to strengthen their emotional bond.
"Harry, do you remember last year, when you took that potion? We've never really talked about what you 'heard.' I thought you were unconscious the whole time."
Harry grimaced at the memory of that night. "Well, it was a strange feeling. About a minute after you started that counter-charm," he noticed the apologetic look on her face and patted her hand before continuing, "Things became fuzzy… I could hear voices, some seemed far away, others a bit closer. I think they were the thoughts of people in the surrounding rooms, it just seemed to be random, disjointed thoughts drifting into my mind. Your voice, however was loud and clear. I heard you apologizing for hurting me, saying how you hated hurting me like that. You were so afraid I'd hate you for doing what you were doing… I also heard you say that you loved me right before I passed out."
"After I woke up, I was still in pain, but I still had the connection. I heard about the Ginny and the beach house, and how I'm 'too trusting for my own good.'" An odd expression briefly flickered over Harry's face when he mentioned the trust part. "I'll admit, that damn spell hurt a lot, but you know I'd never hate you for trying to help me, and besides, look at the result!" He indicated the mound of baby that was protruding under her smock. "I would have gone through that pain a thousand times, as long as it brought us to this point today." He stood up and placed a gentle kiss on her lips.
"Oh, Harry!" she breathed as she threw her hands around his neck and pressed her face into his chest, "You have no idea how happy you've made me!"
She felt Harry stiffen against her. She pulled back tentatively only to catch a glimpse of him turning his head away and surreptitiously wiping his eyes on the sleeves of his robes.
"Harry? What's wrong?" worry was evident in her voice.
"I'm just being stupid… I just can't help but to wonder if this is the way my father felt when my mother was carrying me… Silly, huh?"
She looked deeply into his eyes. Suddenly, she understood. She knew exactly how he felt. She could feel his emotions washing over her as if she were being dipped into a warm bath. She could feel the soul of the frightened, lonely eleven-year-old boy that she had met so long ago reach into her heart to touch her own. She grabbed hold of him tightly, never wanting to let him go. She shut her eyes, willing away her own tears. She understood.
She wasn't quite sure how long they were holding each other, the embrace lasted until she felt him pull away from her slightly. He touched her chin with one finger, lifting it up and gave her another soft kiss before standing up and walking towards the door. "I had better go collect Tonks, we have a meeting with Shacklebolt in about fifteen minutes and we can't be late. Oh, and by the way, I'll probably be home later than usual tonight, you don't have to wait up for me, you need your rest."
Neither one of them noticed the pink, snake-like tendril withdrawing from under the door.
She sighed deeply and watched him step across the room, "Ok, sweetheart, I'll see you then if I'm awake… Oh, I almost forgot, Hannah Abbot was just here, she wanted me to tell you 'Hi' for her."
Harry smiled, "Tell her 'Hi' for me… See ya at home."
Once her shift ended, Hermione stepped out from the hospital into the night. The breeze was a bit chilly, and the light rain that was falling had her hair sticking to the sides of her face within minutes, but she didn't mind. It was actually somewhat refreshing and not nearly as cold as it normally was this late in October. As she tottered down the sidewalk towards their flat, she just couldn't seem to erase the silly smile that had been stuck on her face since Harry's visit. She was finally going to give Harry something in return for all he had given her. He had given her a life away from that lonely, boring flat where she used to live, he had given her his name, his heart and his soul, all the things she treasured beyond comparison, and all she had to give in return was her own love and the child she was carrying. 'Quite the unfair trade for him,' she thought to herself as she wobbled down the street, 'he already had my love, and the baby I want just as much as he does!'
As she approached the steps leading up to her door, she noticed that there were lights on in the flat. 'I thought he said he was going to be late?' she thought to herself as she unsteadily climbed the steps. As she reached for the doorknob, the door swung open and Harry stepped into the doorway. A warm smile appeared on her dripping face, but faltered when she saw the scowl on Harry's.
"Harry? What's the matter, are you ok?" she asked while reaching out to him. Her hand abruptly stopped mid-motion when Harry took a step back away from her. Her smile disappeared completely and she asked, "What's wrong?"
"I finally figured it out," said Harry, in barely more than a hiss, "I didn't make the connection until you reminded me about what I heard in your head last year."
Hermione felt light headed. She looked deep into Harry's eyes and was startled when all she saw there was anger, the same kind of fury she saw in the potions lab when he found out what Ginny had done to herself on their wedding night. She was starting to get scared.
"I- I don't know what you mean!"
"Yeah," said Harry with venom in his voice, "I heard what you were thinking when you didn't know that I could hear it… How could I have been so stupid? You weren't apologizing for hurting me, you were apologizing for trying to make me break up with Ginny! You knew it would break my heart letting Ginny go! That's the 'hurt' you were talking about! That's why you were so afraid that I'd hate you! What did you use on me, a confundus charm? A love potion?"
Hermione was trembling uncontrollably now and tears were mixing with the drizzle on her face. She couldn't think straight, her world was shattering as if in a confused, chaotic maelstrom, "Harry, you can't mean that! You heard what I was thinking, you must know how I feel! How could you think I'd do something like that? You know me better than that!"
"That's exactly it!" yelled Harry, "Who would ever expect you to do something like that? You must have been proud of yourself, putting one over on the stupid, trusting Harry Potter! You were ready to watch me send my wife to Azkaban! Do you hate her that much? Were you that jealous of her life?"
Hermione fell to her knees on the doorstep, her stomach clenched horribly as she rocked back and forth, clutching her arms around herself… all she could say while he was yelling at her was, "No… no… no…This can't be happening! No… no…" She suddenly felt a sharp pain in her stomach, right below the sharper pain in her chest where her heart had been just minutes before.
Harry reached out and grabbed her by the hair, pulling her face up to meet his, his voice lowered into the most dangerous tone she had ever heard from him, "Maybe you can still go back to that rathole of a flat I found you in. As soon as you spit that ankle-biter out from between your legs, you can expect a letter from my lawyer. I'll have a proper grandmother bring it up at the Burrow, you won't get another knut out of me! Now get out of my sight!"
"You can't take away our baby!" she managed to say between her agonizing sobs, "Please!" She then looked up and her eyes widened. She could see it. She never dreamed she would see it directed at her. She could see it in his eyes. Hatred.
Harry slapped her hard across the face, then pushed her back away from the doorway. She whimpered as she felt hairs that were tangled in his fingers being ripped from her scalp as she fell back down the steps. She could feel the warm drip of blood that trailed from the corner of her mouth. He slammed the door, leaving the sobbing and screaming Hermione sprawled across the stairs in the now freezing, pouring rain.
"HARRY!" she screamed at the door between her piteous cries, "PLEASE! HARRY!"
She couldn't stop screaming. Lightning flashed in the skies above, soon followed by a rolling peal of thunder that drowned out her mournful wails. She suddenly went quiet as a painful jolt blazed through her stomach. She crawled back up the stairs and weakly banged her fist against the door. She was barely able to croak out through the pain, "Harry… the baby… I'm…"
The door remained closed.
She slumped against the door in defeat. She slowly, unsteadily got to her feet, stumbled down the stairs and waddled off into the cold, rain swept night. She could feel the warm liquid flowing down the inside of her legs, leaving a cloudy trail in the puddles on the sidewalk behind her as she attempted to make her way back to St. Mungo's before the birth of her baby. She didn't think she was going to make it.
Harry apparated to the alley across the street from his London flat, having been released earlier than he expected after the meeting with the head auror. He hastily scanned the area to ensure he hadn't been spotted by any muggles that might have happened by. He really didn't expect anyone to be around at that time of night, for he lived in a relatively respected neighborhood. He was mildly surprised to see a figure stumbling down the sidewalk, apparently some drunken vagabond… a rare sight in this area since there were no pubs nearby. He felt a little sorry for the poor soul, being out on a stormy night such as this.
He sprinted across the street through the sheets of rain, anxious to finally get home and into a nice comfortable bed after his long night. As he stepped up to his door, he thought he saw out of the corner of his eye the shade of the front window flutter. Was Hermione waiting up for him?
He opened the door and stepped inside the flat. He shook the water from his cloak and hung it beside the door before making his way through the dark living room. He could see a sliver of light from a door that was left ajar stretching across the hallway that led to the back rooms. He heard a soft giggling waft from down the hallway. 'Uh, oh,' he thought, 'she's in a playful mood…' A smile spread across his face as he stealthily crept towards the bedroom. As his hand reached for the door, he heard a sound from within the room that made him freeze. A long, loud moan. A moan that was clearly made by a man.
A whirl of thoughts cascaded through his mind as he shifted his view so that he could see into the room through the crack in the door. Harry shut his eyes tightly, but it did nothing to stem the tears that had suddenly forced their way to his eyelids. He felt the bile rise from his stomach into the back of his throat. His brain seemed to stop functioning as he opened his eyes again, his gaze fixed on the scene in his bedroom.
He could see Hermione upon the bed, on her hands and knees with her distended belly resting on the sheets, her head thrown back in abandon. She was naked. There was a similarly naked man standing behind her beside the bed, with his hands on her hips. They weren't playing exploding snap.
Once Harry recovered the ability to move, he slowly swung the door open. Hermione looked over towards the doorway, and in a cheerful voice said, "Hi, Harry!" The man looked at him and simply said, "Oops, sorry mate, I guess it's your turn!" The man grabbed his clothes that were in a pile on the bed beside Hermione and before anyone else could move, he spun on the spot and disapparated from the flat.
"Why do you look so surprised?" said Hermione as she calmly climbed off the bed.
"Hermione! How could you…? Our baby…" He was having a hard time stringing two coherent thoughts together. He could almost hear his soul shattering within him.
"My baby. You had nothing to do with this." She said, indicating her stomach, "Come on, now, you aren't that stupid!"
"No, that's my child… that's…"
Ginny only used a fever hex on you. Harry, you can't have children. You're sterile. I faked the results of the test last year. I knew you were sterile years ago, you can't be put under the Cruciatus as many times as you have without some permanent damage. When you came into the hospital that day, I saw the perfect opportunity to get a bit of revenge on you. I must say, it worked out quite well… I make you get rid of that red-headed wench and I get to slide right in and play with her toys!"
Harry stood there, he couldn't believe what he was hearing. "Revenge? This is all about revenge? What could I have possibly done to you that would make you do this to me?"
Don't play dumb with me. All through school I was madly in love with you. Everybody knew it but the thick-headed Griffyndor seeker. I tried to make it as obvious as I could short of ripping your pants off in the common room and shagging your brains out. It was painfully obvious that you didn't give a screwt's arse about me. I was too ugly. I was too plain. You wanted the lookers… Cho and Ginny… You even chose Luna over me! Looney bloody Lovegood went out with you more often than I did! Do you have any idea what that did to me?"
"Oh, it was a perfect recipe!" she said, stepping all over what Harry was trying to say, "A little love potion mixed with a bit of telepathy serum, add a bunch of thoughts for you to 'read' and some memory tweaking about Ginny's infidelity and you get instant vengeance! Sure, I got my heart broken back in school, but you got yours broken twice… how brilliant is that? A mudblood bookworm getting the best over the great Harry Potter! The only thing that could have made it better was if that wife of yours ended up in Azkaban! But nooo… you're so noble!"
Harry's mouth opened and closed a few times. He watched in utter shock as she quickly dressed herself in her bright red robes.
Hermione shook her head and laughed as she brushed past him and headed for the front door. "Just send off an owl with the divorce papers, I'll sign them… Say, maybe Ginny could make some room for you in her bed, because you sure won't be getting into mine again. Good bye, Harry."
She stepped out of the door laughing. The door closed and she was gone, leaving Harry standing in the hallway in a puddle of rainwater and tears.
Harry slammed his fist into the wall, creating a large hole in the plaster. He yelled a few unintelligible words, and then stormed towards the front door. He couldn't stay in that place a moment longer. He roughly grabbed his cloak, threw it over his still-soaked auror robes and stepped out of the flat, slamming the door behind him.
The rain was pouring down harder than it was when he arrived. The steady hiss of the rain and the howl of the wind were punctuated by the occasional rumble of thunder between the flashes of lightning. He remembered a new pub had opened about ten blocks away, it was a fair distance to walk, but he didn't care. A pub was exactly what he needed, maybe a good soaking in scotch would be enough to block out the vision of Hermione and that 'man' from his brain.
'How could I have been fooled like that? How could I have been so stupid? She faked my fertility report?' A chaotic barrage of thoughts and emotions battered his heart as he walked. His breathing hitched every time a painful pang wracked his chest. He was nearly blinded by the rain and tears that were assaulting his eyes.
He suddenly tripped and almost fell on his face as he stumbled across a form lying in the darkness on the sidewalk. It looked like that drunk that he had seen earlier. 'Poor fellow,' he thought, 'alone and forgotten on a cold, miserable night… I know how you feel, friend.'
He couldn't just leave the poor soul lying in the gutter in a thunderstorm. As Harry bent down to help the fellow up he saw that the form was dressed in robes… it was a wizard. He drew his wand and quietly said, "Lumos." A soft glow emanated from his wand and illuminated the figure before him. He saw that the robes were coloured in the trademark green of the St. Mungo's healers.
He reached down and turned the form over. He felt his heart stop. He was looking down at the cold, pale face of…
"Hermione!" He pushed his hurt and anger aside, his auror perception kicked in and he instantly remembered that she left the flat wearing red robes. The wheels in his head started spinning furiously. This was not the Hermione that left his flat minutes before.
When he tried to pick her up into his arms, her eyes flew open and once she registered who it was that grabbed her, she started screaming hysterically while scuttling away from him. She backed herself against a building and cowered with her arms over her face.
"Please, Harry, don't hit me again!" Her voice was raw and hoarse, "Please, I'll do what you want, I'll go away, just don't take our baby away from me!"
'Hit her? Again? Take our baby away?' He moved forward and reached for her. She tried to scramble back in terror, but he still managed to scoop her up into his arms.
She squealed in fright as he lifted her off the watery sidewalk. Exhaustion, terror and hormones prevented any rational thought from entering her head. All she could do was scream until another contraction hit her. She hissed in pain and stiffened in his arms as he hurriedly made his way down the street towards St. Mungo's. She had passed out again before he arrived there.
Harry sat for hours outside the door of the room where Hermione was giving birth, running the night's events over and over in his mind. What in Merlin's name was going on? Did she somehow get a hold of a time turner… or maybe she was placed under the Imperous curse? Did she transfigure her robes when she left? And what did she mean about him hitting her? He never touched her, nor did he threaten to take the baby away from her, after all, if it really wasn't his, why would he care? Was he going to get his hands on a time turner after he find out about her in the future?
A frown appeared on Harry's face as he thought to himself, 'Or maybe… someone hit her that just looked like me?'
Harry immediately thought back to the time he had met up with Ginny to 'bury the hatchet,' so to speak. He remembered when he went to give her a peck on the cheek, how she grabbed hold of his hair and pressed a deep kiss onto his lips. He assumed she was happy that he was speaking to her again, or maybe only happy about getting her beach house and a stipend. He was surprised by the sudden kiss, and pushed her roughly away while her hands were still wrapped in his hair. She could have easily pulled a few of his hairs out.
Harry stood up and started pacing the corridor. He felt his blood begin to boil. Could it have been Ginny who hit Hermione? A sneer cut across his face and his hands balled up into white-knuckled fists as he thought, 'Was it Ginny I saw in the bedroom? Did she get some of Hermione's hair?'
He felt a kind of rage building inside of him that he'd never felt before.
At that point, the door to Hermione's room opened and two healers stepped into the hallway. One of them was Hannah Abbot. She walked up to Harry, and then turned as if she were going to walk away, but she was actually rearing her hand back.
Hannah squealed in pain as she shook the sting out of her hand. The left side of Harry's face practically glowed red from the impact of her palm.
"How dare you!" she hissed to him, "How dare you accuse of her of breaking you and Ginny up? How could you even think someone like Hermione would use a love potion on you or modify your memories? How could you hit a pregnant woman then throw her out of her home into a thunderstorm! You know she can't apparate anywhere in her condition... Did you expect her to take the Knight Bus?"
Things were starting to add up in Harry's mind, "Hannah, it wasn't…"
The right side of Harry's face now matched the left.
"I hope you're happy now! There's a traumatized, suicidal woman in that room nursing a baby that arrived a month prematurely! I'd be surprised if either of them survive the day! I hope you're proud of yourself, you bastard!"
Harry deftly grabbed her wrist as her hand arced towards his face again, "Will you listen to me! It wasn't me! I didn't say those things to her! You have to believe me! She has to believe me!"
Hannah shook her wrist out of Harry's grasp and eyed him suspiciously.
"Come on, Hannah, you must know by now that I'm not like that. It wasn't me, but I'm pretty sure I know who it was. In order to prove it I'll need her help."
"You can't see her. We just calmed her down enough where she has stopped crying. If you go walking in there she would likely go all hysterical again."
Hanna looked him in the eye for a moment. She could see the genuine concern. Her voice softened and she said, "She's in a bad way, Harry. I've never seen her more upset."
"Please, Hannah, you have to make her understand that it wasn't me. When I got home last night, I found Hermione in our bedroom…" Harry swallowed down the lump that formed in his throat, "making love to another man."
"WHAT!" screeched Hannah.
"But I know now it wasn't her. I can't explain it right now, but after I left the house I found this Hermione, my Hermione lying in a gutter." He quickly wiped the wetness that was forming in his eyes on his still damp sleeve. Hannah had her hands over her open mouth, her eyes wide with shock.
"Please, talk to her for me… make her understand. I can make things right, but I need her help."
Hannah nodded and said, "I'll try…" She walked back into Hermione's room.
A soft, warm breeze wafted in from the ocean as the bright morning sun warmed the sand around 'The Love Shack,' formerly known as the Potter beach house. Even on this November day, the area surrounding the house was as warm and comfortable as a day in July, thanks to the permanent Aestas Aeternus, the Everlasting Summer Charm that was placed on the house when it was built. A soft crack that sounded from the shoreline announced the arrival of a visitor.
A thin, disheveled-looking witch appeared on the beach and began walking up to the patio that overlooked the seashore. She was wearing old, wrinkled robes with a plain black cloak. Her dirty, brown hair hung lifelessly from her head and her sunken, spiritless eyes had dark circles beneath them, as if she had been crying for days or had many sleepless nights. She limped across the sand, shakily supported by a walking stick.
She reached the patio and looked at the pretty, young witch. She was lying topless on her stomach, stretched out on a lounge chair sunning herself, while a handsome young man was busy rubbing tanning oil onto her exposed back.
Ginny Glanced over her shoulder, briefly lifted her sunglasses, and flashed a wide smile, "Well! Hello Hermione, you're looking… well." She rolled onto her back and sat up. The young man beside her was unfazed, he just lubed up his hands again and started rubbing the oil over her shoulders and chest. "I want to thank you and Harry for giving me this house. That was very kind, and you know how I love it here."
Hermione stood silently, looking at Ginny and leaning on her stick.
Ginny sat there smiling and looked Hermione over. "So what brings you to my humble abode?"
"I'm leaving England. I'm catching a muggle flight to Paris tonight." Said Hermione softly, "It looks like you won."
"Whatever do you mean?" asked Ginny sweetly.
"They don't call me 'the brightest witch of my age' for nothing… I know what you did, not that it matters. I lost the baby, Harry won't even talk to me, and everyone has turned their backs on me. I can't even hold a job now. There's nothing left for me here."
Ginny let out a slight giggle and said flippantly, "Too bad, makes me sad… but that has nothing to do with me."
"All I want to know is why. You messed up your own life, why did you have to destroy mine as well? How did you make Harry hate me so? He's telling people I cheated on him!"
Ginny picked up her empty cocktail glass and handed it to the young man who was oiling her breasts and said, "Be a love and fix me a refresher, and take your time, would you?"
The man took the glass and obediently walked into the house. Hermione's eyes followed the man and a slight sneer appeared on her face. Once she realized it, she averted her eyes and resumed her sad, tormented expression.
"You want to know why, do you? It's because everything that happened is your fault. Even before Harry and I were married, every time he kissed me, I knew he was wishing he were kissing you. Every time we made love, I knew he was watching your face behind his closed eyes."
"That's not true." Said Hermione in a shaky, distressed voice, "How do you know what he was thinking?"
"I could just tell… It was obvious. It didn't change after the wedding, either. But I didn't care, I had what I wanted. He was perfectly fine with drifting through life with his head up his arse… until that day. I only recently discovered what really happened that day at the hospital when he found out you loved him. I knew about that, of course, I'd known since my third year during that stupid tournament. It was disgusting the way you two were always drooling over each other, connected at the hip, but even with that 'connection' you had, neither of you realized what the other's true feelings were. You were both so comically thick. He would never have known about your feelings for him without that bloody potion."
Hermione's mouth dropped open for a moment, "How did you find out about that? We never told anyone!"
Ginny's smirk widened, "It seems Harry's old cloak 'accidentally' fell into one of my trunks the day I left. Given that and one of my brothers' extendable ears and you'd be surprised what a person could inadvertently overhear while lingering in hospital corridors."
Hermione's shoulders slumped as she turned her back on Ginny and hung her head. A soft sob escaped her throat as she said. "Harry's going to be here soon. It seems he's anxious to see you. How did you do it? Did you modify his memory to believe I was cheating? Was it a love potion?"
Ginny laid back onto the lounge as she spoke, "It was too easy. I've had some of Harry's hair for a for months. A little Harry Juice was all I needed to get some hairs from you when you were at the door and then made some 'Instant Hermione Juice' to greet my loving husband. Once he came home, I just staged a little act in the bedroom with Ian here" Ginny indicated the fellow inside of the beach house, who was taking an excruciatingly long time to slice a lime, "Then all it took was to plant the seeds in his head about using memory mods. We both know you didn't, but that's the beauty of just accusing, how does one know their memories haven't been modified? There will always be that doubt."
"You're insane." Hermione's voice sounded strangely deeper and her hair seemed a bit darker and shorter, "Do you know what the penalty for impersonating an auror is?"
The change in voice didn't immediately register in Ginny's brain, she assumed it was just the whiny wench's emotions, "What does it matter? You can't prove a thing, it's just your word against mine, and as you said, the word of Harry's brilliant, brainy bookworm doesn't carry much weight anymore."
Ginny had her eyes closed as she spoke, just lying back, grinning broadly and soaking up the rays. She didn't see that Hermione's shoulders dramatically widened and that she suddenly grew six inches as the polyjuice potion wore off.
"How about the word of Harry Potter?"
The grin immediately fell from Ginny's face as she heard Harry's voice. She bolted upright and her sunglasses, along with a spray of spit, flew from her face exposing her eyes that were wide with terror.
He grinned evilly, "Didn't I just say I'd be here soon and that I was anxious to meet with you?"
Panic set in. Not knowing what else to do, Ginny plunged her hand into the sand beneath the lounge chair where her wand was hidden and pointed it at Harry.
The spell connected with Harry's chest. He casually drew his own wand and silently gave it a flick, causing Ginny's wand to fly out of her hand and into Harry's.
"Tsk tsk, I suppose you didn't know that I can shrug off the Imperius. Even Tom Riddle's Imperius didn't affect me." Harry then announced in a loud voice, "I think we've seen enough here, don't you?
Ginny's face blanched in dismay as she saw The Minister of Magic, Rufus Scrimgeour, along with a dozen officials from the Department of Magical Law Enforcement emerging from under a flurry of invisibility cloaks. Behind them, two more figures were revealed from under their own cloaks, Hermione Potter, holding her two-week-old infant and wearing a vindicated smile and Ginny's mother, Molly Weasley, who had been magically silenced and made to watch the episode to convince her of her daughter's treachery.
Rufus turned to Harry and said, "I think there's no point in making you suffer through a trial, I believe her actions, on top of her confession and the witnesses present, warrant an immediate incarceration." He then turned to Molly, "Unless, of course, Mrs. Weasley here still wants to profess her daughter's innocence?"
The moment the silencing spell was lifted, the air was filled with the unintelligible wailing and sobbing of the Weasley matriarch. Not able to stand being in her daughter's presence a moment longer, she spun on the spot and disapparated back to the Burrow.
As the DMLE officials placed shackles on the hysterically screaming Ginny, Harry turned to Hermione and held her in a passionate embrace. "Is my favorite little boring bookworm ready to go home?"
Hermione looked deeply into her husband's eyes, "Mmmm… 'Home' never sounded so good…"
A/N: Yes, Ginny used an unforgivable, so she got life in Azkaban… Are you guys happy now? Thanks to all my reviewers, this second chapter is for you! I love you all!