Unbeta'd. Also have no idea where this came from. But you're stuck with it anyway. The tinny bit (like, one minuscule line) of lyrics is Unlike Me by Kate Havnevik. It's sort-of amazing, so you should listen to it. So without further ado, enjoy.
The room was dark.
Honestly, though, he couldn't comprehend that. He was distracted, completely distracted, and didn't want to turn on the lights anyway. He quite liked the darkness of surrounding him and didn't want to break the mood.
Said mood being melancholic.
He was sitting on a stool in the middle of the kitchen in the Burrow. He had woken up from his bed about twenty minutes ago from a nightmare, and found that he couldn't sleep anymore even if he had tried. He had glanced at his wife, frowned at her defensive posture cuddled on the other end of the bed, and then left.
He placed his head in his palms and tried to think about anything except his failing relationship with his wife, but he couldn't seem to think about anything else. As he winded his fingers in his thick hair, he remembered sharp words, whispered insults, harsh thoughts hissing through the air. He wanted to scream, but he couldn't, for he didn't want to wake the others.
Like every other weekend, they had made the journey to the Burrow. It was a way for everyone to meet up again, for the family to keep tabs on each other. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley had been doing this for years, allowing everyone to spend Saturday night and all day Sunday at the home for dinner and breakfast, and no one ever missed. Well, except for the children, but they were all at Hogwarts now, and so it didn't apply to them.
Having a bunch of Weasleys, plus Harry and Teddy was a houseful, but that was how everyone enjoyed their days. Family mattered, more than one could ever imagine, and Harry didn't want to stop seeing his family even with the tension between Ginny and himself.
They had been fighting non-stop for years now. Fighting about having more children, fighting about buying a bigger house they didn't need, fighting about press releases and book deals that Harry refused to partake in...and something else that tore Harry to pieces since hearing it only a week ago. It seemed as if their life was a never-ending argument that was gradually tearing them apart, and Harry was growing tired of it all. He loved her, but it was beginning to fade, and he wasn't sure what he was supposed to do about it. He didn't want any more children, for he believed that the three he had was all he needed. He didn't want a bigger home, because their house was comfortable and just plain home, and he didn't need a mansion to prove his worth. He certainly didn't want to live off his fame either, leading to him leaving the Auror department in return for working in underground Ministry affairs with Hermione. What was the point, anyway? There were no Dark wizards about, and he was bored with paperwork and being gawked at.
It had been twenty-one years since the fall of Voldemort, and his life was lacklustre.
He missed his children. It was autumn in the United Kingdom, so they were all attending Hogwarts. James was a seventh year now, which didn't seem real to Harry; he'd be leaving on his own after the year ended. He'd get married to Mary Harding, a beautiful girl he had been dating since being old enough to know what it was. He'd probably end up taking over the joke shop when George finally retired, considering his children were more studious than anything.
Lily was a third year, giggling about boys and more concerned about Quidditch than anything else. But eventually she'd take off with some boy and get married, have children, and generally forget about everything else. She was a flighty young thing, but Harry loved her just the same.
Albus was a fifth year, along with his friends, and even though Harry was still in a bit of a shock—maybe naming him after my gay headmaster was like Seeing into the future—about his son's sexuality— I mean, Scorpius Malfoy and my son, a couple—he knew that when the time came, he'd end up moving out of the house to live with Scorpius. It was only a matter of time before Albus was gone too, as he was more of the type to spend every moment with his boyfriend and Rose and forget about everything else but studying.
Within a couple of years, the only thing holding Ginny and Harry together would finally disappear from the majority of their lives, and Harry couldn't imagine what they would do after that.
It was probably the reason why she was on a warpath to have more children as soon as possible. More children meant more time that Harry would stay with her, because he was completely against breaking up a family. She could feel him shifting away as the day where the children moved out of the home crept closer, and Harry knew that it frightened her.
Bitterly, Harry snarled under his breath as his thoughts turned dark. She could always go move in with that snake of a man that she had comforted herself with a week ago. He'd give her an interesting life, that was for sure.
He honestly didn't understand why they had just gotten into a fight over having more kids if she had went out and had an affair with another man. She was livid and blamed it all on him, as if it was his fault that she had opened her legs to some man that was definitely not her husband. So he didn't want more kids, so he didn't want to flourish himself in his fame, so he didn't want to move into a bigger house, so he didn't want to be an Auror...that wasn't his fault!
And her accusation about Hermione hadn't helped matters either. He hadn't so much as looked at another woman, even after hearing of his wife's adultery, and the idea that she had justified her actions because of having an affair with Hermione was ridiculous. Especially since he wasn't. Hermione was happy, with a good marriage and two beautiful kids, and definitely wasn't interested in Harry anyway. They were practically siblings, even more so because they had respectively married two Weasley siblings.
He had decided to join her when she had made the decision to apply for work in the Department of Mysteries because he figured that it would be interesting as much as beneficial to the public. Down there, he was able to develop new spells with other wizards and witches for defence purposes, he could study Dark objects with the intent of learning how to destroy or combat them. Right now, he was working with four others for a way to combat the Killing Curse, in a way to make it completely useless when it came into contact with a human being, and the successes that they were achieving were worth much more than Harry's weight in gold.
Hermione herself had left law enforcement and house elf rights as she had not exactly lost interest but merely needed something a bit more fulfilling to do. Since she had gotten her new laws passed and had trained a new young man to take her place, she was now working on ways to develop cures for Muggle ailments, like cancer and AIDS, diseases that were unheard of in the Wizarding community. Developing ways to utilise magic in a Muggle's bloodstream to combat such illnesses was valiant and heroic on her end, and Harry praised her for that.
But for Ginny to go out and justify her adultery by saying that he was using the free time with his female best friend to "fuck her into next week"...that was absurd.
They had been out to coffee quite a lot, and yes, they often made house visits to see each other and their respective children. Not once, however, had Harry and Hermione been alone-alone, as they were with other people. They were always surrounded by other people, like Ron or Ginny or friends from work. They didn't even work in the same department, and even had lunch at different times. They spent plenty of time talking about respective details in their lives, mostly because it was against the rules to talk about the Department of Mysteries with anyone outside of the programme, and found camaraderie in each other because of that.
Not once had Harry ever looked at her and thought those types of thoughts. How could he, when he was married to the mother of his children? Sure, Hermione was nonsensically gorgeous, and was one of the greatest women Harry had ever had the fortune to meet, but he hadn't acknowledged her in such a manner. Even if he had, he would've felt immensely guilty about it, because Ron and Hermione were so happy that it was almost sickening to watch, and he meant that in the best way possible.
If anything, he was jealous of Hermione. But he definitely didn't want to have a relationship like that with her. It would've been odd, to say the least. He had already had this conversation with Ron, during that night of so long ago when they had destroyed Slytherin's locket: he loved Hermione as a sister, nothing more.
He sighed and wished that he could stop thinking about it. It was almost ridiculous how much this was getting to him. Regardless, he was tired of defending himself and Hermione during gigantic blow-outs and getting absolutely nowhere with it. There was just no winning with Ginny, even if the argument was clearly ridiculous on her end. Harry knew he was stubborn, but she made him look like the most lax bloke on the face of the globe...
He lazily looked to his left and said, "Might as well join me."
She came in, brushing her hair out of her brown eyes as she sat down on the stool adjacent to Harry's own. For a long moment, they sat in silence, content in just sitting in the darkness without speaking. Harry could tell that she was crying, and even though his heart went out to her he didn't comfort her. He couldn't, exactly. Perhaps unconsciously he wanted to, but he didn't want to touch her.
She softly began singing under her breath. It was a soothing melody, something that would be sung to little children who she was trying to get to sleep. It wasn't always in tune, nor was it enough to warrant some sort-of singing career, but it was comforting all the same. There is no time, there is no time, time doesn't really exist...
"It's beautiful, you know," he murmured, laying his head down on his arms, suddenly very tired and yet so unwilling to sleep.
"Thank you," she said, softly and cordially. Nothing more, nothing less.
Perhaps in a different life, where Harry hadn't had kids with Ginny and Hermione wasn't in love with Ron, they could've tried. He thought about it, trying to picture what life would've been like if they had been in love in that way, but found that he just couldn't. He loved Hermione so much that it was like a physical pain, but it was sisterly and it always would be. Perhaps in a different life, with a different outcome, it would've evolved, and perhaps it would've been better that way, but he honestly didn't believe that they were meant that way. He couldn't imagine a life without James, Albus, and Lily.
Harry...Harry did not love Ginny Weasley anymore. He just didn't. He loved her because of the simple fact that she was the mother of his three children.
"I don't love her. I don't love you either. Why does everyone accuse me of that, of loving my best friend, my sister? I don't understand why I'm getting attacked for something that just doesn't make sense. Even when I had the chance, in that tent, I never would've even tried. It's always been sisterly love, and nothing more. Why can't people just accept that?"
"I'm sorry," she said simply.
"I know," Harry whispered, and then stood up, wiping his cheeks clear of the warm tears he hadn't even known he was releasing. "I'm going to bed."
With big, brown eyes, she just wiped her own tears and said, "It'll get better for both of us. We just...we have to believe."
Harry cracked a smile and said, "Faith, hmm? I don't believe in that."
"Neither do I," she said, a quivering smile popping onto her lips as well. "It's nice to delude myself though. Comforting. Perhaps you should try the same."
His laugh was wet and hoarse. "Good night," he finally said, beginning to walk through the doorway, but she stood up and grabbed his arm.
"Harry, I do love you, you know that right?"
He sighed and said, "Yes, I do. It's just...unfortunate it couldn't have been in that way, isn't it?
She wrapped her arms around his neck and buried her face into his shoulder. In a muffled voice, she said, "Maybe it would've been better if it had, but it's not, is it, and perhaps that's for the best. We just...need to focus on holding strong for our family, and everything will work out okay in the end."
"Okay is better than miserable."
For a long moment, they just stood there, taking silent comfort in each other, but eventually Harry lifted her face and kissed her softly on the lips. It didn't last long, but no sparks flew, and Harry finally was resolute in his belief. Nothing was ever going to change, and that was a good thing.
"Good night," he muttered again against her lips.
"Good night," she repeated, her breath hot and sweet against his own mouth.
And then they separated and never looked back.