How did we get here?
AN: See? I'm not dead! I don't own HP, 'cause if I did, HP/GW and RW/HG would have never gotten together, or rather, stayed together.
"Ron again?" Harry asked as Hermione sat down at his table in a little Muggle café they had found while visiting London after Hermione learned that he only knew where the Leaky Cauldron was located. She had ranted about the Dursleys' for a solid hour and preceded to drag him, mostly against his will, to show him as many landmarks in one day as she could without using a time turner. It had been a nice break from the Weasley's being themselves and the press continuing to hound them. They were merciless when they discovered Hermione had used unauthorized memory charms on her parents. It was only her being a "War Hero" that kept the ministry from pressing charges. But it was close.
"Yes!" Hermione looked at the counter to see if her order was up yet and turned back to him. "I don't know what he is thinking. He still won't do any house-hold chores. He says it's not his place, he's supposed to bring the money home. How utterly chauvinistic! House-elves deserve a break, but I don't? I work more hours than he does and he has the gall to ask what's for dinner."
"Ginny's the same way, oddly enough. She wants a house-elf to do the laundry, and cleaning. She says she'd cook, but I do it so much better, which is true. I don't know how she managed to live with Mrs. Weasley all those years and not learn how to cook." Harry sighed. "I think living with Mrs. Weasley must have altered their sense of work. Ginny doesn't even want to look for work now that only Lily's home. She insists that Lily would be lonely if she's not there."
Hermione scoffed. "She just doesn't want to work. Lily has plenty of friends from the Muggle town. I thought Ginny wanted to go into business with George after she graduated school."
"It certainly would have made sense, with her temper and inventiveness," Harry snorted into his coffee. "Speaking of careers, how is yours?"
"Frustrating, there's so much red tape that it makes me want to tear my hair out." She paused and went and grabbed her Cranberry-apple muffin and black tea with lemon and came back, deflating a bit as she sat down. "It feels like I'm getting nowhere with my life."
"Honestly, I never thought you would end up in politics," Harry offered. "I thought you would either end up in the Department of Mysteries, examining all of that weird stuff, or maybe a healer. You were always taking care of Ron and me, and you were always studying, so I guess… well I was wrong at any rate."
Hermione closed her eyes and breathed in her tea. "I had considered those at one point, but who would have helped changed the laws?"
"Someone who believed as you did, but enjoyed that bureaucratic nonsense?" Harry offered. He took a sip of his cold tea, scowled, and discretely warmed it up with his hand. Hermione had heard that he caused his wand to light up around Dementors without touching it. He was telling the story to get her mind off of what her parents would think after she returned their memories. She had promptly informed him that no matter if his wand reacted oddly around Voldemort's wand, Voldemort and his wand were not there when he fought the Dementors, so he must have an affinity for wandless magic. It took them two years, but he was able to do simple spells wandlessly at the end, and Hermione discovered that she could also do it after explaining
one technique for the 10th time, (Harry was counting and it was only the 8th) and the book he was trying to summon came to her.
"Yes, well, I didn't expect you to be an Auror either," Hermione snorted. "It's something 'The-Boy-Who-Lived' would do. Harry Potter would have been a great DADA professor. He certainly was during our fifth year." She chomped on her muffin.
"What else was I supposed to do?" Harry snorted. "It's not like They would have let me do anything else with my life." He sat back in his chair and closed his eyes. "Sometimes, I wish you could obliviate the entire wizarding world and let me live in Australia with your parents. At least then I wouldn't have to go three disguises and 4 back alleys to get to a café for a good spot of tea."
"Press bothering you again? For what this time?" Hermione asked and rubbed his hand in sympathy.
"Not the Press, Ginny. She's convinced I have a mistress," Harry snorted. "The press doesn't even think I have a mistress, but my wife thinks I do. She asked me this morning if it was Cho Chang-Carmichael."
"Ah… so that's why you're here as well," Hermione muttered to herself.
"Hermione?" Harry looked directly at her. She hated when he turned that gaze on her. It meant something was up and she was going to have to do damage control, or curse someone with horrible acne.
"I don't think I'm in love with Ginny anymore," he whispered.
Shit. Hermione blinked and said stupidly, "What?"
"I don't think I'm in love with Ginny," he repeated a bit stronger. "I don't know if I've ever been in love with her. What does it feel like to be in love with Ron?"
Double shit. "I don't know," she admitted behind her teacup.
"Are you going to tell me that I'd know it if I had it?" Harry sighed. Seeing her confused look he explained, "I've already asked your parents."
"You asked my parents?" The teacup stopped in its journey back to the table.
"If I asked Mr. and Mrs. Weasley they'd know something was up," Harry reasoned. "Your parents have been together forever, and Ginny doesn't communicate with them."
"I don't know what it's like to be in love," Hermione admitted behind her teacup again. She wasn't even drinking it, maybe she should remember to the next time she used it as a mask. "What makes you ask now, and not when you married her?"
"I didn't know, but for the last two years or so… well, I never imagined that I thought my Aunt and Uncle had a healthier relationship than me and Ginny. They at least appeared to understand and love each other, in fact, I could tell you things but I've firmly blocked it from my mind and a little voice is telling me not to open that door on pain of reliving scaring events," Harry scoffed. "We only fight or have sex, and now she wants another baby, even though she thinks I've been cheating. What do you mean you don't know what's it like to be in love, you're married to Ron! You have your parents as an example. You should know!"
"I married Ron, because I knew no one else would have me, and I wanted children," Hermione looked out the window. "I love Ron, I'm not in love with him. We make decent life partners and we've been through a lot together. I thought we could work out."
"Thought?" Harry asked.
"I'm going to ask him for a divorce tonight," she said quietly. "I've already found a flat with three bedrooms that I can afford. One for me and one for each of the kids. I already put in
the first month's rent," Hermione explained. "I thought he was changing for the better, and I could grow to be in-love with him, but, he's regressed since the war. He's back to his old self, only with Dark Wizards replacing Slytherins."
"Wow…" Harry shook his head. "I never really saw you and Ron together in school. I guess this is why. I never saw you separating either though, so I guess I was wrong at any rate."
"What about you and Ginny?" Hermione asked poking her muffin. It didn't seem nearly as appetizing as it did a little while ago.
Harry closed his eyes and rocked back on his chair and fell forward with a crack. "I think I'll try again with her. But, if when Lily goes to Hogwarts, we're still where we are now, I'll ask her for a divorce. Once Lily's in school she won't be as affected by it, she won't be reminded of it every day."
"You say that like you don't expect this chance to work out," Hermione observed.
"Harry?" Hermione asked looking out the window again.
"How did we get here? Our lives seemed so bright in Hogwarts. Now we're stuck with jobs we don't want and spouses we aren't in love with. How did this happen?" she turned back to look at him.
"I don't know, sometimes, it feels as if Fate just wants to move us into her own master plan no matter that we don't fit the mold anymore," Harry replied and smiled slightly. "It's like we just followed the prophecy everyone else was saying about us."
Hermione scoffed, "Harry, you know I don't believe in Divination. We make our own lives."
"But we didn't listen to ourselves when we made them."
Hermione blinked. "Sometimes Harry, I think you're smarter than you appear."
"Of course I am, I had to learn something from every study session you prepared!" Harry laughed and warmed up his tea again.