Tears of Red and Gold part 3

By Xelan

A/N: Still sorta rough, but I didn't want people to think it was abandoned. I am making a very concerted effort to get back to writing. I do NOT intend to abandon this.

XXXXXX

Before Harry could answer, four post owls flew into the room. With no one else available to receive them, the four owls converged on Harry and Hermione.

Hermione's hand was still cupping Harry's cheek when the owls landed right beside the two and lined up awaiting the chance to deliver their mail. One tried to nibble on Harry to get his attention, but Hermione would have none of it. She gestured with her other hand and all four owls turned stiff as stone. "I'm waiting, Harry. Are you or are you not my husband?"

Harry began to breathe hard and his eyes started to take on a golden glow as brown marks similar to Hermione's began to appear in dim outline on his face.

She swallowed hard as a familiar feeling made itself known. She could feel him, her husband; she could actually sense him again. He was right in front of her, she was sure of it.

He closed his eyes briefly and then in a tired voice he spoke, "Freyja... You're safe? Oh, thank the Fates above..." and then the glow from his eyes began to fade.

Hermione choked. No! She thought. He's leaving! Her right hand flew to her chest as she concentrated hard; trying to focus on the connection she had always had with her husband but had abruptly lost 16 years ago.

He touched her cheek tenderly, in much the same way she had touched his, and his emotions: endless love, deep feelings of regret at their separation, burning desire, and so much more flooded through her like a wave.

"Oor! Wait! Don't go!" Her hands moved to clutch at his shirt, gripping it so tightly that Harry could feel the fabric pull. Hermione "Freyja" Granger came as close as she had ever come to breaking down in public. "Don't leave me, Oor. Please! Please, don't leave me again!"

When the glow completely went out, the hazy marks on his face also disappeared, and the intimate, always-present sense of him left her; Hermione lost all strength in her body. He's gone...she thought despairingly.

Limp and almost boneless, she dropped forward into Harry's arms and was gently coaxed into lying down. This time her head was gently pillowed on his lap. He stroked her hair and she cried softly and clutched his other arm close to her. "It's not fair."

"He's not gone you know..."

Hermione had turned around and was in his face in the blink of an eye. "WHAT! Explain yourself!"

"I said he's not dead."

Hermione's eyes narrowed at the re-affirmation. "That's what I thought you said. I have just experienced the loss of the love of my immortal life for the third time in just a little under a quarter of a century... I am in no mood for games, Harry."

"I know things now." He paused as if ordering his thoughts. "I think I'm finally beginning to understand why everything happened the way it did." Wonder was evident on his face.

Intrigued, she gazed into his eyes and extended her senses. She gazed deep, searching for her husband's presence. "So... is my husband is speaking through you or were some of his memories left behind?" she finally asked.

"Actually, I am your husband." He smiled at her. It was at once both Harry's smile and not. It was at once both Orr's and not.

Hermione couldn't help but smile back at her purported husband. "THAT MAKES NO SENSE!" She began to shake him vigorously.

"If you'll let me try to explain..." he stammered in between shakes.

Ceasing her manhandling, she scooted herself forward to seat herself on his lap. "Go," she said simply.

"During that fateful Halloween night when Voldemort was disembodied, he wasn't the only one to have his soul knocked loose."

"But-but, you bounced the curse back. You survived." Her brow crinkled. "You're here, there's no other explanation for it."

"Not quite true. There is at least one other explanation..." he smiled lightly at her

"Well?" she asked. The expression on her face was such that if she had been standing it was a certainty she would be tapping her foot.

"Hmm..." he murmured, as though something else had caught his attention.

"What!" she demanded.

He pointed a finger at something behind her. "Jimmy looks as if his bladder is about to burst," replied Harry.

Half turning her head around to look at the squirming boy with long red hair, Hermione's hand made a small gesture and released all the Weasleys' bindings. Jimmy shot to his feet. Immediately, he tried to hurl invectives at his greatest, most dangerous rival but found he still couldn't speak.

Amused at the antics of the once again boy, Hermione couldn't help but giggle as Jimmy performed several rude gestures while he pointed fervently at his mouth. The effect was somewhat reduced by the fact he was bouncing up and down while attempting to cross his legs.

It was only after Jimmy had attempted to use his wand to lift the spell that Hermione took pity on him and broke the silencing magic with a twiddle of her fingers. "I can talk... I-I, I sound like a BOY!"

"That's because you are a boy, Jimmy." Hermione explained patiently. She continued in an amused but humoring tone, "You were born that way. Surely you remember?"

The look of horror on Jimmy's face caused Hermione to break into giggles again and as Harry's arm went around her waist, Hermione could feel that Harry was struggling to keep from laughing.

Horror turned to anger and Jimmy turned to glare balefully Hermione. "This isn't over Granger..."But his posturing was interrupted when a feeling of spreading warmth began to flow down his legs. His eyes went wide as nature's call sounded clearly. He immediately dashed off to the toilet as fast as he could run.

XXXXXX

"Dad!" Jimmy yelled from an upstairs toilet.

"What is it, dear?" He called back as he tried to care for his wife.

"I really need to go! How do you use this... thing? It's going everywhere!"

Both Harry and Hermione fell over in overt laughter as Arthur's brow narrowed and his mouth formed a perfect 'O'. He hadn't the slightest idea how to answer a question like that from his princess – even if she was now his youngest son.

Getting himself under control, but still smiling and shaking his head at the absurdity that was his life, Harry called out. "Just take the situation firmly in hand and let things flow naturally, Jimmy. Don't forget to swish and flick." He had to bite his tongue as he said the last part.

Several minutes passed and after some trial and error and few cleaning charms, Jimmy Weasley stalked back into the room. His expression was murderous and his wand was clutched firmly in his hand. Not only had Hermione returned her to her icky boy body, but she was monopolizing HER Harry. The-Boy-Who-Lived was now a fine specimen of manhood, one she had hoped to entice with her new special lace knickers that currently pinched something awful. Granger would get to see first-hand what happens when you try and steal a boy from Ginny Weasley – goddess or no. He cast his signature spell all the while planning out a list of spells from her D.A. sessions to really make his displeasure known.

Nothing happened.

She tried again.

Same result.

From the shocked look on Jimmy's face, Hermione could have guessed what was going on, especially as she had Jimmy's measure and so far he was acting true to form. Hermione snapped her fingers and Jimmy was yanked from his unsteady heels to go tumbling through the air to land on a chair right next to his babbling mother.

He couldn't move from his seat and his wand had been left behind. He wanted to scream bloody murder at Hermione, but the target of his ire simply raised a hand and Jimmy knew he had better be silent willingly or the smug looking goddess would take away his choice in the matter.

In a calm but frosty voice, he asked, "Why didn't my spell work?" while glaring menacingly at Hermione.

With a pitying look, she answered, "From whom did you learn that spell?"

Looking puzzled at the odd question; Jimmy paused in thought for a second and then answered. "My mum taught it to me." Still wary of the self-proclaimed goddess, he asked, "Why?"

"I can see she never explained it to you properly. I suppose you've never wondered why Ron or your two prank loving brothers never used it in retaliation."

"Mum probably never taught them." He retorted.

"Actually, it's because that hex is one of a rare type of spells that are for witches only; a type of spells that Wizards can't cast" she lectured. "It was originally created to teach snotty wizards a lesson, so it wouldn't have been useful if wizards could cast it right back at us."

Jimmy paled at this news. She had gained notoriety for her proficiency with that spell, but for him not to be able to cast it... for Hermione to be wrapped in Harry's embrace... this simply would not stand.

Deciding that taking a goddess head on, even if she only looked like an older Hermione was a bad idea, Jimmy decided to switch tactics. He called over in an odd sounding falsetto tone. "Harry, she's done something to me. No matter what I look like, I'm still me, still Ginny Weasley. We can get through this. I love you and you love me, I know you do."

Harry's face took on a pitying expression. "Jimmy..." he started, but that seemed to enrage the boy.

"GINNY! MY NAME IS GINNY WEASLEY!" the poor, confused boy cried.

Harry was taken aback at the passion in Jimmy's voice, but Hermione maintained a sad expression as she watched the young boy that was coming apart at the seams.

"I'M PRETTY!" he repeated to himself as he broke down crying. "I'M GOING TO MARRY HARRY POTTER! I'M GOING TO BE MRS. HARRY POTTER!" he wailed as his tears transitioned into bawling. His father had to alternate between caring for his wife and caring for his newly returned son.

"It wasn't my intention for that to happen..." Hermione said softly.

"I know. Jimmy has to realize that I already made my choice... long, long ago." He hugged his wife. "AND I have never regretted it. Jimmy will just have to learn to deal with reality."

Hermione still looked concerned. "I suppose so..."

Harry tightened both his arms around her. "Don't beat yourself up over this; you aren't to blame for this.

Hermione just looked thoughtful for a few moments. "Harry?"

"Hmm..."

"Are you really him?"

"Yes, more or less."

Hermione leaned back slightly so she could look straight into his eyes. As a goddess and at her full height, she was very nearly as tall as he was. "I see you…" she said after a moment. "You're you and yet you're not. I believe you… but why can't I sense you?" A hand went up to trace his faint scar.

Harry closed his eyes for a moment, sorting through thoughts and memories that were becoming more natural to him by the second. Concepts, ideas, and theory that would have been completely alien to him even an hour ago were, to an immortal's perspective, rapidly becoming second nature to him. He opened his eyes. "You're still looking only for Oor, but I'm not just Oor anymore. I would be willing to wager that you know what Harry feels like as well. Try looking for neither Oor or Harry, but both at the same time.

Hermione nodded hesitantly. Her eyes closed, a tense look of determination graced her features and the tip of her tongue poked out provocatively from between her lips. She could feel him now that she knew what to look for – she mentally memorized that feeling. She would NEVER lose track of him again if she had anything to say about it.

A warm breath brushed over her face. Hermione's eyes opened and a fierce, predatory look entered her eyes. There, in front on her was Harry and her husband. She didn't have to choose between the two, and now she was within kissing distance of her husband and Harry (something she'd been longing for). In the back of her mind, she couldn't help but think, life is pretty good sometimes. She leaned forward to take advantage of their closeness and smiled as a wisp of her husband's thoughts flashed through her mind.

And with you, life is even better. Harry thought.

Breaking the kiss, Hermione pulled back to look up at Harry's face. "Well then, I've waited very patiently... years, in fact. I've waited years to find out what happened to my husband after he disappeared. I am so glad I didn't have to wipe your memories, and I love you, but I love my husband and I need to know what happened. I have to know, Harry.

TBC