Happy Memorial Day Weekend!
Please, take the time to remember our fallen soldiers before celebrating this awesome weekend. :D Hope all is going well. Hmm... For once I don't have a lot to say. Let's just jump into the next chapter, shall we? It'll be an adventure!
Please leave a review :) It helps me out more than you think!
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or any of it's characters. They are property of of JKR. If I did, however, Snape would not have died.
"For what I am doing I do not understand, because what I want to do,
This I do not practice, but what I hate, this I do."
- Romans 7:15, Lexham English Bible/Translation
"Hermione? Why are you sitting out here in the cold? You should come inside. Hermione?"
Today is supposed to be a happy day... And yet, I feel so sad...
"'Ello? Earth to Hermione!"
A strong hand shook her shoulder, knocking her out of her trance. It was Harry, balancing two bottles of Butterbeer in one hand and holding on to her shoulder with the other. She smiled at the wizard standing there with two Butterbeer bottles.
"Oh, hi Harry. Just wanted some time alone."
The black haired wizard sat next to her on the porch steps, the wood creaking underneath his weight. He handed her one of the bottles and opened the other for himself. "It's not like you to be spacing out," he said as he sat next to her on the porch steps. "And to be out here alone when everyone else is inside celebrating. You alright?"
He handed one bottles to Hermione and took a sip of her own, but Hermione didn't open hers. She didn't feel like drinking anything sweet at the moment.
"That's new," Harry teased with a smile and nudged her arm. "Come on. What's up?"
Hermione felt heavy even as she leaned back against the steps.
"About lots of things. I don't know. I feel like there's a jumbled up mess inside and I don't know how to stop it."
Harry's grin faded. "About what?"
Hermione set the cold bottle aside and ran her fingers through her hair. "I don't know if it's safe to open that door..."
Harry's eyebrows furrowed slightly. "'Mione, you don't have to hold everything in. As your friend, I'm here to help you when you need it. Now out with it."
Hermione half-smiled and half-sighed.
"I have accomplished things that witches and wizards twice my age wish they could. I have always been at the top of my classes, I had helped Harry defeat the Dark Lord, I've worked hard and become a teacher at Hogwarts... And the people I'd want to share this birthday with don't even know that I exist."
Her friend nodded in understanding. "Your parents."
She bit the inside of her cheek so that she wouldn't cry.
"It's selfish of me to want them with me when I was the one who sent them away..."
"I'm an idiot, aren't I?"
Harry's eyes softened towards her and he moved closer to her. "Hey... You're not an idiot. You did what you thought was the right thing to do at the time. They're safe. At least think about that."
Hermione took in a shaky breath to keep from crying, although that in itself was difficult. She shook her head.
"I"m sorry," she whispered. "So. Are you having fun?"
"I always have fun. Odd to see Professor Snape here tonight, though," He said after a long sip. "Haven't seen him for a long time."
Hermione gave him a small smile. "He didn't call you 'Potter', either. He was on his best behavior tonight."
Harry laughed. "I never thought I'd see the day where you two would become buddies." He nudged at her. "You should drink up while it's cold."
The witch opened the bottle but only took a few sips. She wasn't really in the mood for anything sweet. Her mind was crowded. "Well, Severus is a nice man deep down underneath all those scowls and sarcastic comments. He's been a good friend to me."
"It's very odd, you know. There's no other word for it."
"Apparently everybody thinks so. Except for Ginny and Arthur - they were pleasant enough to him."
"Gin wants to ask him a favor for our wedding." Harry explained, shaking his head. "She thinks he'll actually help out."
Yeah, right. He has a hard enough time trying to help me. She shrugged her shoulders instead of saying what she was thinking, "He may, if you ask him. Send him a note."
The wizard shook his head. "We'll see. The wedding is still a whiles away so I have time to ask him."
The wind caught Hermione's hair a little and she had to tie it. Fall was creeping in on them and the cool winds were just the start. "What did you want to ask him?"
"Oooh, not that's a secret."
"Of course. You know I'll find out eventually."
"Even so. I'm still not telling you."
"Fair enough." She leaned against the steps. "Did you come out here to check on me?"
"Well, you've been our here for about ten minutes. I figure Ron was still out here with you but he's gone now." He glanced around, his green eyes scanning the dark and emptry property of the Burrow. "I didn't know Professor Snape was gone, too. Of course, I didn't expect him to say goodbye, either."
"They both left because they said they had things to do." Hermione told him. "Ron left first, then Severus."
"Gotcha." Harry slipped a brotherly arm around her and held her close. She smiled as she felt his body heat warm her. She closed her eyes and and leaned into him. He always knew how to pick her up when she wasn't feeling herself.
"Didn't think Ron would leave so early." Harry went on. "He didn't even have cake and he loves his sweets."
"He said he had work to do."
"Yeah yeah. He seems to have more work than I do and we work in the same team."
"That's weird," Hermione commented but she didn't give it much thought. "It would be nice if it would have stayed but he looked pretty eager to leave... I dunno. I guess work makes him happy."
"Everything in our lives comes down to the choices we make." Harry told her. "We are the only ones who can decide what makes us happy."
Hermione laughed at the irony.
"That is so ironic! Severus told me that same thing not ten minutes ago."
Harry grinned. "Smart man, that Severus." He rubbed her shoulder again. "You would be smart to take his advice. Loving your life what makes you have the most peace and the most happiness."
"What gives you peace, Harry?"
Harry's hand touched his forehead, his fingertips brushing against his lightning-bolt scar. Perhaps it was out of habit, she didn't know, but she could see his eyes becoming less concentrated and more distracted.
"Knowing that the worst is behind me... Knowing that Voldemort is gone, that society is at peace, and the ones I care about are safe. That's what gives me peace of mind. Yeah, sure, there will always be things that life throws at me. But I have overcome so much more in the past than I will ever face in the future. I can do anything now that my problems are taken care of."
He glanced at her.
"But I couldn't move on and have a life of my own until I faced my own demons first. I had to face Death in the face in order to defeat Voldemort. That was terrifying. But if I couldn't face Death, I wouldn't have been able to defeat him, and he would still be out there today. Once he was out of the way, I could live my life the way I wanted."
Hermione felt herself nodding. "But you had to get over all your problems first."
"Exactly. So. You just have to discover what's holding you back in your own life and what you want to deal with. Until then, you can't move on and you can't be happy. You'll be stuck in the same place."
He tilted his head at her. "Does that make sense?"
"Yes," the witch agreed. "It makes total sense. I just... I don't even know where to begin."
"Try thinking about what makes you unhappy and then make plans to fix it. Then, focus on what makes you happy and do those things. You're the smartest witch I know, 'Mione. If anyone is capable of doing this, it's you."
The witch thought long and hard for a moment.
She had a pretty good life. She had a wonderful job as a professor where she was welcomed and appreciated by both her colleagues and students.
She had a pseudo family that loved her dearly since the moment she had met them. The Weasley's were the most giving and loyal family and they had taken her in and treated her like she was part of the family.
Her friends were always with her, through the good times and the bad. She was so blessed to have Ginny and Harry, and even Ron...
If she was so happy about Ron, why did her heart sink the way it did when she heard his name or thought about him?
"No," Hermione sighed. "Just realized how unhappy I am with a certain someone..."
"It's Ron, isn't it?"
Hermione glanced at Harry, who was looking back at her with eyes full of understanding. "Look, I'm not an idiot. You and Ron have been going round and round since we were kids. I can always tell when you're upset with him."
"It's not just about being 'upset' with him, Harry." Hermione explained, carefully remembering that he and Ron were best mates. The last thing she wanted was for Harry to be angry at her. "He is a wonderful person, I know he is. But we haven't had a real relationship in what feels like forever."
She expected him to be angry or upset for feeling this way about Ron, but he only looked at her and nudged her.
"C'mon. You've held back for a long time. It's best to just let it all out."
With that being said, Everything that she felt like she had held in for months came pouring out all at once. She hastily explained, perhaps out of panic, that she felt that the relationship between her and Ron was fading away.
She told Harry that the chemistry was long gone, the expressions of affection were nonexistent, and even their friendship felt strained and empty. She went on to say that what used to be a fulfilling relationship of fondness, understanding, affection was gone.
The entire time, Harry remained quiet and listened to her rant. His expressions remain unchanged, with the exception of an occasional wince or cringe.
"I know I haven't been the best girlfriend either, Harry, but... I can't help but feel that we're not going to be happy, no matter what we do. It feels like there isn't anything there anymore."
It was then that Harry chose to speak.
"Well, I can see why. Neither of you have made the time for each other. Plain and simple. You're busy and he's busy. You and Ron are both guilty of putting other things before your relationship."
Hermione felt indignation flare up in her but she bit the inside of her cheek so she wouldn't say anything.
"I know this isn't what you want to hear and I can already tell you want to have a go at me, but just listen to me. I have watched you two for a long time. You both want the other to jump through hoops, but neither of you value the other enough to sacrifice."
"Now hold on just one second," the witch spoke up. "I have sacrificed a lot-"
"You have not and you know it, Hermione."
"Oh? And what would you know about sacrificing for a relationship?"
A very dry, humorless laugh escaped Harry's lips. "Let me see... I dumped Ginny because I didn't want to endanger her. I have had to postpone our wedding many times so that she can get on the Quidditch team she wants. I've had to turn down many dangerous jobs at work because I have a fiancée I have to come home to. I know a thing or two about sacrificing for people I care about so maybe you should just listen to me."
The fire in his eyes faded after he took a calming breath. "Have you considered marriage, Hermione?"
A gasp escaped Hermione before she could stop it. "Of course not!" She couldn't help raising her voice. "I am busy trying to make something of myself! I don't have time for-"
"Well, Ron is ready for marriage. He's ready to move into that new stage of his life. He is ready to have someone who he can sleep with, start living with, and eventually marry and start having kids. Have you considered making any of these sacrifices for him?"
Hermione felt her face flush.
"I understand that your career is very important to you. Believe me. Everybody who knows you KNOWS that your future and your career are the most important things in your life. But having an intimate relationship is what Ron wants and he wants it now." He tilted his head again. "And I think that's why you've avoided him. He's asked you for sex, hasn't he?"
Hermione lowered her head. She couldn't bear to look Harry in the eye.
"I-I can't start a family... It's not that I don't want one. I do. But not now. I can't have one when I just got to a point in my life where my career is going just the way I want it to."
"So you haven't slept with him at all because you don't want to have a family?"
"That... And I promised my dad I wouldn't be... Intimate with a man until he gave us his blessing."
She stared at her knees as silence fell upon them for a few long moments.
"I hate to say this Hermione but you may not ever get that blessing from your father." He raised his hands when she looked up at him. "Look, I know it sucks to hear it, and I know it hurts, but your mum and dad don't even know you exist. You've been looking for them for five years and you haven't found anything that leads to them. You can't wait on a blessing that may not ever arrive."
"I get that it's important to you. I get that it's a special promise you made. But things change. You erased their memories. Your dad doesn't remember such a promise. It's time to move on with your life."
"Your parents would want you to be happy," Harry cut her off again. He was leaving no room for her to talk at all. "If they knew then what they know now, they wouldn't hold you to some silly promises. They would want you to live your life to the fullest, like George said not too long ago. Your life is yours to live. If you love someone and you want to sleep with them, then that's your choice. Your parents just wanted you to be smart about your choices."
"Harry," Hermione said, exasperated. "You didn't grow up in a home with religious parents. They had traditions and a culture that I still cling to. I may be a witch but those aspects of my childhood I hold on to."
"Sorry to say it, Hermione, but if Ginny told me that she didn't wanna have sex with me was because she wanted her father's blessing first, I'd think it was just an excuse not to sleep with me."
"Harry, you don't understand. A blessing is saying that the father and mother agree with their child's relationship and they fully support it all the way. I want my father's blessing and I'll do everything I can to get it from him."
The wizard nodded, relenting with a heavy sigh. "Fine. I get it that the blessing's important to you, whatever. But the point I'm trying to make is that you haven't worked that hard to get a blessing for you and Ron's relationship. You've even stopped looking for your parents for focus in your work. If you ask me, it has nothing to do with the bloody blessing. It's because you've decided Ron's not worth it."
He leaned closer to her.
"You haven't sacrificed for him or moved onto the next stage with him because - the answer is plain and simple: you don't love him and it's time to stop fooling yourself into thinking that you do."
Harry's words knocked the wind right out of her.
It was true. It was all true. She hadn't heard it until now but it made so much sense.
She didn't love Ron anymore.
She hadn't made sacrifices or gone the extra mile for him and their relationship simply because she didn't want to anymore.
She didn't want to move in with him or start a family and no way in hell was she going to budge for him. She didn't want kids at this point in her life so she wasn't going to sleep with him and risk getting pregnant - blessing or no blessing.
When they first started dating, everything was simple. No promises other than to stay loyal and make time for one another. Now that they were adults, they both wanted different things in their lives.
Their intertwined paths were now split in two opposite roads and there was not going to be a reconciliation now or even in the future. They were different people who wanted different things.
"It's alright, you know."
Her eyes found Harry's again. "What?"
"It's alright to break up with him." His voice was so soft and soothing that Hermione felt shocked at his response.
"But... But he's..."
"He's not happy with the relationship either, Hermione. Yeah, you've been through a lot together, but if either of you want to sacrifice a lot for your relationship, then don't be in one. Especially with someone who has opposite interests. Wouldn't it be better to just end it?"
"I... I guess..."
"It may hurt but it'll be better for the both of you in the long run." Harry nudged her. "You can then focus on what makes you happy and Ron can find someone who makes him happy."
"You... You aren't mad?"
"Mad?" Harry repeated. "I'm not mad. Why would I be... Oh. Because he's my best mate?"
"Look. Ron's not innocent either. He's been making himself busy too that you hardly see him anymore. So I know that your relationship has failed because of the both of you - BUT - its not the end of the world."
"Certainly feels like it..." Hermione admitted.
"Cho and I never would have been happy."
Hermione felt surprised at this confession. Harry never talked about his relationship with Cho, probably to keep Ginny worry-free.
"She wanted me to be like Cedric. She wanted me to be charming and sweep her off her feet. She never wanted me to yell or get angry with her. I couldn't stand how often she'd get upset over dumb things. I'm not the overly romantic type and that upset her. Sure, we liked each other. But it couldn't go anywhere because our expectations of each other were WAY too unrealistic. And that's what killed it in the end. But..." He glanced over his shoulder towards the house.
"If I kept trying it with Cho, I wouldn't have noticed Ginny. I wouldn't have made room for the most important and impacting relationship I'd ever have. She has pushed me and challenged me in ways I've never known before. She doesn't complete me, but she helps me in the areas I need to grow in. We understand each other, we have fun together. We can talk for hours and still have more to talk about. We both want the same things, we respect and love one another. But if I kept trying it with someone who wasn't going to work with me, I would have missed Ginny completely. I believe you will find someone special, like what I have with Ginny. But I don't think that guy is Ron. And it's okay to let him go find his special person."
Harry made complete sense. If he held on to Cho, he wouldn't have been happy and she wouldn't have been happy either. Because he realized early that it wouldn't work, he found Ginny and they've been happy for so long.
Despite her drive for her career, was it even possible that she could have that happiness, too?
"How will Molly take it?" She wondered out loud. "Or Ginny, when she finds out I've ended it with her brother?"
"Ginny is a pretty fair," Harry reassured her softly. "And you're her Maid of Honor - she can't stay mad at you forever."
Hermione couldn't help but laugh. "Um, have you MET Ginny Weasley?"
Harry laughed with her. "I have, and despite her fiery temper, she's pretty fair. She'll understand if you end it with Ron. Molly, on the other hand, might not understand for a while. But at the end of the day it's your choice. Don't be afraid. Just do it."
A weight that felt like fifty pounds lifted from her shoulders. Everything that was cloudy and confusing was how cleared up.
She could break up with Ron and it wouldn't be the end of the world. She could focus on her career and not feel guilty about letting Ron go.
She could only hope that he would be okay with it.
"I don't want to hurt him."
"Then let him go nicely. Don't demean him or blame him for anything. And end it swiftly - like ripping off a band-aid."
"Easy for us to say. We grew up with band aids so we know the pain of ripping those off. Ron doesn't..."
"He'll get over it in time. I just hope you two can settle it over in time for me and Ginny's wedding?"
"Assuming you two even have a wedding..."
"Hey! We're working on it!"
The Leaky Cauldron was crowded with the night wizard folk. The smell of Firewhiskey and smoke from tobacco pipes filled the air, making a darker and most lurky atmosphere for the more mature wizards and witches. This made it easy for Severus to slip inside unnoticed.
He scanned the full bar, searching for any sign of the red hair but failed to see any. But he knew that the Weasley boy was here. Without being seen, he swept across the busy bar and up the creaky stairs towards the inn's rooms. He didn't know what would happen when he went inside, but all he knew was that Ronald Weasley was going to pay.
He came close to each of the doors, listening intently for any sounds of that weasel and his lover. He didn't have to search far, however. The same room the lovers had used before had sounds of moaning and a creaking bed resounding from within. Withdrawing his wand from inside of his sleeve, the dark wizard gripped the handle of his wand and whispered 'Alohomora' under his breath.
The door unlocked immediately and Severus slammed the door wide open so hard it shook the paper-thin walls. The noises of pleasure were replaced with shrieks and sounds of protest. His eyes swept over the bed in the small, dusty room. Ms. Brown had just dove under the covers to hide her bare naked form from his sight. Ronald, however, was sitting straight up in bed, clutching the sheets over his hips.
"What the bloody hell?!" He let out a scoff of disbelief. "Snape?"
His face was flushed from carnal activities, his chest heaving up and down for breath.
The very sight disgusted the older wizard. This man - no - this little boy had just kissed Hermione not half an hour ago and now he was in bed, pressing those same lips to another woman. Severus felt his fingers clenching the handle of his wand.
"You!" he could not stop the contempt in his voice towards the young woman. He didn't even care that she was nude and that he had interrupted her and Weasley's intercourse. All he knew was that he had to get her out and speak to Weasley alone. "Get out."
From the look of horror on her face and the way she scrambled around for her clothes, he didn't need to repeat himself. As Weasley reached to the floor for his trousers, Severus raised his hand to him.
"Remain where you are." He threatened menacingly. "You and I are going to have a little chat."
The redhead's Adam's apple swallowed and he sat down on the bed, clutching the sheet over his hips. The dark wizard caught a frightened glance cast between the two lovers before Ms. Brown left the room in a hurry, her headband nearly falling out of her hair as she slammed the door shut behind her.
The dark wizard then turned his attention to the trembling young man, practically hiding under the sheets. What a coward. He would enjoy seeing the worm writhe.
"Explain yourself." he demanded.
"E-Explain?" Weasley squeaked. "Explain what!? You were the one who barged in here, acting all mental-!"
"I have no patience for your whimpering excuses," Severus cut him off coldly. What he said was true; his grip on his wand was so tight he wondered if it would snap in his fingers. "Why do I find you here in the arms of another woman when you are courting Hermione?"
Weasley blinked many times, as if he heard wrong. "Wh-What?"
"Do not make me ask again, Weasley." Severus felt his blood growing hot in his veins. He only hoped he could contain his malice for the boy and he would be able to hold the reigns of his control. "My patience is wearing thin tonight..."
"L-Lavender is just a friend!" The young wizard proclaimed rather pathetically.
"Oh? Do you always screw your friends? Is that why you and Potter are so close?"
The boy's cheeks lit up and nearly matched the color of his hair. His little joke offended him... Good. "Y-You don't know what the hell you're talking about!"
"I don't, do I?"
"Listen you, you filthy git-"
With one arm clutching the sheet, the redhead lunged for the nightstand, where his wand lay unprotected. However, he was too slow for Severus, who already had his wand raised in his right hand.
The wand flew from Weasley's shaking fingertips through the air and right to Severus' outstretched hand. He relished in the outrage on the young man's face as held the boy's only hope of escape in his hand. Weasley was visibly shaking once he saw the wand was beyond his reach. He cleared his throat and succeeded when he tried again.
"Wh-What do you want from me?"
"Ah, straight to the point. Very good. Are you over your little tantrum?"
"What do you want?" Ronald repeated.
"End your relationship with Hermione."
"Wait, what?" Weasley cried in shock, his anger quickly diminished. "Why would I do that?"
"Isn't it obvious? Neither of you are happy. It's only logical that such a troublesome and failing relationship should end before it caused any more potential damage."
"Why should I end it?"
Severus rolled his eyes.
"You are a moron, Weasley. You have gone so far as lying and cheating behind Hermione's back. I have known about your affair for some time but I did not thread the pieces together until this evening, when you so boldly proclaimed that you loved Hermione when it is clear that you do not."
"I-I do love her! I really do!"
"Is that so? You have an odd way of showing it." He didn't care how close to the line he was. He didn't even care if he crossed it. He didn't want Hermione to be hurt over some blubbering idiot like Weasley. She was too good for the likes of him. "If you love someone, being unfaithful isn't even an option. Someone like you is incapable of loving someone like Hermione."
"It's her fault!" Weasley exclaimed suddenly, his tone high and pitchy, his eyes on the wand in Severus' hand. "She hasn't been around! She hasn't been a good girlfriend! It's her fault this all happened!"
Ah. The blame game. Weasley was even more pathetic than he first thought. "Therefore, that gives you the right to be unfaithful?"
"It's not unfaithfulness if she isn't doing her part!" The redhead curled up his knees to his chest. "I have waited for her to spend time with me for months and she hasn't! She's too damn busy working!"
"One would think that you would be proud of your significant other, as she has achieved an occupation she is happy with."
"Proud?" The Weasley boy repeated, incredulous at Severus' words. He scoffed bitterly. "Why would I be proud of her? It's because of her drive for her stupid career that our relationship is on the rocks! She never spends time with me, she never makes time in her hellish schedule to fulfill my needs! Why would I be proud of her for finding more reasons to ignore me?"
Severus fought the sudden urge to snap the frail wand of Ronald's wand between his fingers, but he held back. He was surprised that Hermione was still romantically involved with such a worthless man. As far as he was concerned, Hermione was one of the most hard-working witches he had ever met in his life. She was persistent, sometimes stubborn, but she was quite dedicated in anything she did. Why was it that she was so under-appreciated by the one person who is supposed to be the most supportive?
It all made no sense to him. This was probably one of the reasons why he didn't date.
"You both desire different things. Why not end the relationship and free yourself?"
To his surprise, the redhead laughed. It was not a laugh of humor but of sarcasm. "Why? So that you can keep her all to yourself?"
Severus would have laughed but he only smirked. "I am sure I don't know what you mean. Make sense of yourself. I don't have time for childish guessing games."
"Oh, you know exactly what I mean, Snape." Weasley sat up a little straighter. His voice gradually became bold, his coward demeanor fading. "Or should I say, Severus. 'Mione's been calling you that, hasn't she?"
"I fail to see how a first-name basis between colleagues creates a relative argument."
"Why are you here? Defending Hermione's honor, like some big shot?"
"Did you not hear me, Weasley? Or do you have an inability to listen? She is a colleague of mine. I care for her well being. That is the only reason why I am here."
"Colleagues don't get invited to birthday parties." Weasley stood up, still holding the sheet around his hips. Was he trying to appear intimidating? If so, he was not succeeding. "She talks about you all the time! How great you are that you would go out of your way for her... I know what you're doing here: you're trying to win her over because you want her!"
It was Severus' turn to scoff. What an idiot.
"Don't flatter yourself in thinking that you know the truth, Weasley. I do not desire a relationship with Hermione nor am I trying to 'win her over'. She is her own person and I only wish to see her reach her full potential, unlike you, who would rather crush her with your ideas of what it means to be in a relationship. Furthermore, while we are on the topic, is that how you see your significant other? As an object that must be possessed and won? Like a prize?"
"She's a famous witch and she has a good reputation! That's why you're shagging her, isn't it?"
Severus felt his jaw clench of it's own accord. Ooh... It took everything in him not to sock the young wizard right in his big, speckled nose. "I don't have a sexual relationship with Hermione, I assure you, nor a romantic one. Watch your tone, you are crossing a line."
"Then why are you here in her name? Why are you defending her, unless you wanted something from her?"
There were thousands of things he wanted to say in reply to Ronald's questions. I am defending her because she is a closes friend, he wanted to say but bit his tongue. I am defending her to keep her happy and to release the bond between us. I want her happy because she deserves the best there is and you are not the best...
While this was something worth thinking about, he couldn't make this abrupt visit to Ronald about his relationship with Hermione. While it was true that he carried high respect for her and that he was her for her, if he was to make this confrontation about his relationship for Hermione, it would inadvertently damage his relationship with her.
If he made this visit too personal, it could cause more harm than good. His goal in confronting Ronald was to make sure that he would not be causing any sort of pain or drama for Hermione. That was the goal he needed to carry out.
And obviously, it was giving relationship advice. He knew little to nothing about relationships, but he did know what would be beneficial for both Ronald and Hermione.
"I came here to hurt you." Severus replied honestly. "I came here to make you pay for all the damage you are doing to Hermione behind her back. Being unfaithful is one of the most loathsome things. However, it seems that this is more than an affair. I know shit about relationships, but I am here to make sure that Hermione is safe and happy and beating the hell out of you won't do either of us any good, despite how good it will feel for me. My reason for being here is to make sure that my colleague does her job, without emotional distractions. She will have burdens and responsibilities this year that you cannot understand. She has a couple hundred students that she needs to help and teach. She will be spending early mornings grading papers and late nights preparing for lessons. To put it simply for you, she does not have time for you. You say you care for her. The best way you can prove that you care about her - girlfriend or not - is to give her the truth. You aren't happy with her, so end it."
"It isn't that easy! I do care about her!" Although Severus wanted to deny it, he could see the truth in Ronald's eyes. He did care about Hermione, even if he had a shitty way of showing it.
"Then prove it. End the relationship. Let her focus on her students and her job. You will cause more damage by prolonging the inevitable than severing the ties now."
The redhead swallowed, and the tension in the room began to disappear. His eyes found the floor.
"We're best friends..."
"Then act like it." Severus had no pity for Weasley. "Do not take away what joy she already has by giving her false hopes that you two will work this mess of a relationship out."
"It'll hurt either way..."
"Time heals all wounds. Once she is over the betrayal, she will accept your feelings and be grateful for your honesty." He felt his voice soften . "If there is anything I have leaned of Hermione during our time working together, it is that she may be emotional and even irrational, but in the end, she will weigh the pros and the cons and she will make the best of what she has... She will do this with any situation handed to her."
A silence fell between the two men and that was when he knew his job was complete.
"Make the best decision, not the easy one." He said. "All I want for Hermione is her happiness, and I know what makes her happy. Do you know what makes her happy, Weasley?"
"Not being with me, that's for sure..." Weasley murmured, his voice void of any emotion. "I just... I thought we'd work it all out eventually. I wanted to have a family with her, you know?"
"Times have changed since you two began your relationship. She obviously doesn't feel the same way. She has a passion and is striving to meet her goals. Your job as her friend is to support her. If you and your significant other are going in different direction, spare her the pain and let her go, rather than dragging it out and trying to force her to do something she does not want to do. She doesn't want to marry you."
There was a pause in the room.
"However... It appears that Ms. Brown does."
The redhead looked up in surprise.
"You two have had an... odd relationship." Severus continued. "It appears Ms. Brown wants you. If that is what you want, end it with Hermione first. Grieve the loss of the relationship and then move on with Ms. Brown is that is your desire. But do the right thing first. Do not hurt Hermione anymore than you already have because you are too damn prideful and you can't control yourself."
He turned to leave, his eyes on the door, but he felt something else hold him back. He turned to face the redhead once more.
"One more thing... It may have sounded like gave you was a choice, but in all reality, it isn't a choice. You will go to Hermione and you will break up with her. You will do it quickly and soon. I do not care what you say, I do not care what you do. You will do this. And if you don't, well..." With a quick and magic-influenced bend of his fingers, the wood of Ronald's wand cracked and snapped in one swift move.
A tiny spark appeared between the two halves of the wand, it's power now completely gone in a puff of smoke. He watched the horror in Ronald's eyes as the two pieces of his wand fell to the tattered floor.
"I will do this exact thing to your dick. Understand?"
"Ooh..." Ronald made a sound of dismay at the sight of his precious wand on the floor. He didn't say anything in response and so Severus' work here was done.
"Glad we understand each other." Severus left the room, his cape swooshing behind him.
It was midnight and Hermione was twiddling her thumbs. Literally.
She was sitting on the rug in her quarters in front of the fire with her hands folded in her lap. She stared at the open flames that were dancing and licking hungrily at the wood in the fireplace.
She felt nervous but she didn't let it sway her resolve. She was going to listen to the wisdom Severus and Harry had given her.
She took in a shaky breath.
"It'll be fine, Hermione. Just Floo him and ask him to come over for tea... Tea... Tea at midnight... What an incredibly stupid idea, Hermione Granger!" She shook her head. "No, I'll just tell him I need to speak to him. Yes... Yes. It's urgent and cannot wait another moment."
She exhaled a big breath. Her hands were now shaking. She never felt so nervous before in her life. "Nothing left to lose." She whispered to herself. Reaching for a tiny black jar by the fireplace, she pulled out a fist full of black powder and toss them into the fire.
Once the powder hit the flames, it sparked and made tiny popping sounds similar to firework sticks in George's Joke Shop.
She wrung her hands together, waiting for Ron's face to show up in the high flames. Simple seconds felt like forever and she could feel her panic rising. Would he understand where she was coming from? Would yell at her? Would he throw a fit and cross over by Floo powder and try to have a go at her?
She hadn't even considered these possibilities. She then gasped when a face showed up in the flames.
Only, it wasn't Ron.
To her shock, a disgruntled, youthful face of a young woman appeared. A pink ribbon was keeping a mess of sandy brown hair from sticking out in every direction. The woman seemed to be naked if not for the sheet wrapped around her tiny torso.
"Who is the fool Flooing at such a late hour? Hello? Hello?!"
"Lavender..." The name escaped her lips.
Lavender's head jolted out of her annoyed composure at the sound of her name being mentioned. Her eyes grew wide and she briefly reminded Hermione of Herr's wide, owl eyes. Like a deer caught in the headlights, Lavender stood shock-still.
Hermione wondered if she looked like that because she felt just as shocked and surprised.
Lavender is at Ron's apartment...
"H-Hermione Granger!" Lavender quickly drew the sheet around her more firmly and ran her fingers through her tousled hair. "Um... What... Why..."
He and Lavender are together...
"Yes." Hermione spoke when she found her voice again. "Yes. Right. Sorry to be Flooing so late." Her tone came off more calm than what she was expecting. "I was just... I was just Flooing to tell Ron that I'm done with him. He's off the hook. Be a dear and tell him for me?"
She moved to wave her hand, to end the Floo connection, but something stopped her.
It would hurt to know. Perhaps it was best to just let it go. But could she really just drop it? A part of her didn't want to know... But the other part of her longed to know. After all, she had a right to know. She looked up at Lavender again.
Lavender had no response. Her eyes fell, her head lowered and her shoulders slumped, looking like a convicted criminal.
With that, Hermione had her answer.
She waved her hand and Lavender's figure distorted in the fire and vanished into the flames.
WAAAAAAH! Finally! Been wanting to get that done with forever! Maybe now Severus and Hermione can start something beautiful, eh? Who knows? ;)
Thanks FreeSpiritSeeker for all your hard work! :D You're awesome!
Don't forget to leave a review! :D Have an awesome day!
God bless you!
Random fact of the day: I'm so thankful for Sundays... Great day to go to church or do nothing at all :P