Disclaimer: I do not own 'Harry Potter' or any of the characters, I just like playing with them, (or in this case, torturing them.)
It was October Thirty-first… Halloween… The anniversary of the fall of the Dark Lord.
The wind was softly pushing the dead leaves across the still green grass that blanketed the front yard of the cottage. The cottage was nestled amongst a copse of birch trees in the tiny village of Godric's Hollow. Very few people knew of this tiny cottage, and even fewer ever visited it, for it was still hidden from most people's view by the magics that were placed upon it decades before. The full autumn moon had just peeked above the hills surrounding the hollow when a sharp crack sounded, announcing the arrival of a visitor. A middle-aged woman appeared out of thin air before the rusty iron gate that guarded the grounds around the small building. She briefly glanced up and down the dirt path before she pushed the gate open and lightly stepped towards the door of the cottage.
The woman reached for the handle, then stopped and took a deep breath before opening the door. As soon as she entered, the candelabras adorning the walls lit up, guiding her way through the empty hallway that led to the study. She knew he was in the study. Every time she visited, he was there, seemingly waiting for her. She carefully walked down the hallway and again, she stopped and took a deep breath before pushing the heavy oak doors open.
There he was.
The moment his eyes turned to greet her, a wide grin spread across his face, "Hermione! Merlin, it's great to see you again!"
"Hello, Harry," she said, trying to sound as cheerful as possible, "It's good to see you too."
For a brief moment, she turned away from him, gathering more of the courage that she had summoned to be able to come to this cottage in the first place. She heard his voice from behind her, "So how have you been?"
She turned around and gave him a wan smile, "Oh, you know, nothing ever changes in my life…"
Harry nodded, and then asked, "I missed you on my birthday… on your birthday, too, come to think of it…"
Hermione sighed, "I know… it's been way too long, but you must realize how difficult it is for me to come here, don't you?"
Harry stared at her for a moment, and then just nodded. He could see the pain etched in her face.
Hermione sat down in a plump, overstuffed chair and stared into the fire that had lit the moment she had entered the study.
Her mind drifted back to happier times. The day that she gave birth to Harry's child, James… the day that he got his letter announcing his acceptance to Hogwarts. She remembered the pride that she felt when she got the owl from him letting her know that he had been sorted into Griffyndor. She remembered her mirth over the letter that James wrote to her of the confusion about a girl that he liked and how he didn't know how to react to her. The stoic look that James had on his face when he held up his Head Boy badge, knowing of his father's history.
Harry noticed the gamut of emotions flashing across Hermione's face. He knew she was thinking about their son. He looked down on her and asked, "How's James doing? Did they make him captain of the quidditch team this year?"
"Harry…" she answered in a choked voice, "he graduated from Hogwarts three years ago." She looked up at his puzzled expression and sighed, "Yes, he was prefect since his fifth year, made the captaincy, and was Head Boy. I wish you could remember… I wish you could remember a lot of things…"
Harry gave her a truly apologetic expression and said, "You know I'm sorry, I never meant for us to end up like this…" He stopped when he saw her wiping tears from her eyes, "What is it?"
Hermione slid out of the chair onto the floor, tears were falling from her pale cheeks, "You didn't have to leave me, Harry. I know you didn't know it then…"
It happened so long ago, but the memories were as clear as if it had happened the previous day. They had just finished making the plan to finally rid the world of the Dark Lord's terror forever. Ron had finally fallen asleep, or at least she thought he had. It really didn't matter to her. She stole into Harry's room and found that he was awake. Of course he was awake, for who could sleep knowing that the next day would be the last? She lay with him that night. It was the first time for both of them. They cried the entire time… they cried through the pain and ecstasy, they cried for each other.
The plan was simple, but things rarely go according to plan. Ron was hidden beneath Harry's invisibility cloak with the Griffyndor sword. As long as he remained –perfectly- still, Voldemort couldn't detect him. Harry and Voldemort dueled, according to plan. Hermione moved behind Harry. They knew that Voldemort couldn't resist toying with 'Harry's mudblood whore.' As planned, Voldemort apparated to the far side of the clearing. A moment later, Harry's eyes flashed red, just as expected. As Voldemort took possession of Harry's body and spun around to attack Hermione, Ron dashed to the now empty shell that was Tom Riddle's body and thrust the sword through its chest, just as they had planned.
Then things went bad. Harry/Voldemort spun around with a blood-curdling screech. He could see the nearly invisible figure at the far end of the clearing dashing back towards the tree line. Harry/Voldemort raised his wand and cast the killing curse. His aim was true. Both Harry and Hermione screamed as Ron's lifeless corpse fell to the ground, half-covered by the cloak. Harry's eyes flashed from red to green as he fought to regain control, but he knew he was losing the internal battle.
He threw his wand as far away as he could then turned to Hermione and said, "Please, you have to do it! Do it now!"
This certainly wasn't according to plan. Ron was the one who was supposed to do it, not her. Her tear-blurred eyes looked into his. She could see momentary flashes of red shine through the green as Harry battled. She couldn't do it. She couldn't kill the person who she had given her virginity to mere hours before. She felt her heart shatter in her chest. She had her wand gripped in both hands, which were shaking violently.
She could barely hear Harry's strained voice, "Hermione, I can't hold him… do it now!"
"Harry, I love you." She rested the tip of her ivy wand against Harry's chest and closed her eyes.
She cried out those dreaded words just as his eyes flashed back to red. Voldemort tried to react, but it was too late. The green flash extinguished the life of the most evil wizard the world had seen in centuries, as well as the life of the man Hermione loved.
"I don't know what you mean," said Harry, "You knew what I had to do, and I knew what you and Ron had to do…. we both knew what needed to be done… I was the last horcrux, I had to be destroyed.""
She looked up at Harry and said, "I've found it. It took me twenty years, but I've found it."
He looked even more puzzled.
"I found it in the archives at Durmstrang. I found the spell that could have separated Voldemort's last soul fragment from you… You didn't have to leave me… You didn't have to leave your unborn son."
Hermione was sobbing openly, she curled herself up into a ball on the rug before the fire. Lily stepped out of her portrait into Harry's. She put her arm around her son and said, "Hermione, you did what you had to do at the time, nobody blames you!"
James moved from the other portrait in the study and, while hugging both Lily and his son, said to Hermione, "Please don't blame yourself, you know we love you and we know you loved Harry here… You did what you had to do."
Hermione was still curled on the floor, unable to hear what the portraits were saying through her sobs, "Harry, you didn't have to die! You didn't have to make me kill you!"
"You didn't have to leave me."
A/N: Thanks to all of you who have been leaving reviews on my stories, you have no idea how pleased it makes me. I know this fic is kinda dark… ok, very dark, but I usually just write what I feel when I feel it. Any criticism is gratefully accepted.
Junko (Angry Hermione)